Vatican News

Updated: 4 weeks 4 days ago

Pontifical Council for Culture’s Plenary Assembly looks at the future of humanity

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 08:24
The Future of Humanity: New Challenges to Anthropology , that’s the title of the Pontifical Council for Culture’s Plenary Assembly which is taking place in Rome this week. How is the image of the human person changing in the present world and is science and technology changing fundamental anthropological concepts? Those are just two of the questions that will be addressed during the gathering. The Plenary is also examining the anthropological changes in three specific areas: the possibilities of body transformation offered by medicine and genetics; the ethical implications of neuroscience; and the social and anthropological transformations caused by the development of technology. The meeting will include experts from around the world as well as members of the Council. Bishop Paul Tighe is the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, he spoke to Vatican Radio’s Lydia O’Kane about the link between culture and science and the relationship between scientific research and the Christian tradition. Listen to the interview: Bishop Tighe explains that the basis of this Plenary, “is an attempt to look at what it means to be human; what it is that gives value to human life; what does it mean for us to be individuals, but individuals who live in society and how that expresses itself culturally. He goes to say that, “our interest is in looking at the developments that are happening in the area of science, that are causing us maybe to think again about what it means to be human…” Science and Christian tradition Asked whether there can be harmony between the Christian tradition and scientific research, the Bishop says, “I think we would always want to say absolutely. We believe that the human person is made in the image and likeness of God; part of our being made in the likeness and image of God is being made with an intelligence with a capacity to understand our environment and to understand our world.” Bishop Tighe also emphasizes that, “science is hugely important. Science has contributed so much to this world, scientists in particular have sacrificed themselves in so many ways to help the human race…” The Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council of Culture continues until 18th November. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis meets with President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 08:14
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with the President of Austria, Mr. Alexander Van der Bellen, in the Apostolic Palace on Thursday. A statement from the Holy See Press Office said "the good relations and fruitful collaboration between the Holy See and Austria were evoked." The two heads of State also spoke about "matters of mutual interest, such as the defence of the inviolable dignity of the human person, the promotion of a culture of encounter, and concern for the care of creation." Pope Francis and Mr. Van der Bellen also spoke about "the international community in the search for peaceful solutions to ongoing conflicts in various regions of the world, also reiterating their joint commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons." President Van der Bellen subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope addresses end-of-life issues

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 07:26
(Vatican Radio) When faced with the new challenges that arise with regard to “end-of-life” issues, “the categorical imperative is to never abandon the sick.” In a letter to participants in the European Regional Meeting of the World Medical Association on end-of-life issues, Pope Francis said: “The anguish associated with conditions that bring us to the threshold of human mortality, and the difficulty of the decision we have to make, may tempt us to step back from the patient.  Yet this is where, more than anything else, we are called to show love and closeness, recognizing the limit that we all share and showing our solidarity.” In his message, the Holy Father called for “greater wisdom” in striking a balance between medical efforts to prolong life, and the responsible decision to withhold treatment when death becomes inevitable. “It is clear that not adopting, or else suspending, disproportionate measures, means avoiding overzealous treatment,” the Pope said. “From an ethical standpoint, it is completely different from euthanasia, which is always wrong, in that the intent of euthanasia is to end life and cause death.” Pope Francis acknowledged that it is often difficult to determine the proper course of action in increasingly complex cases. “There needs to be a careful discernment of the moral object, the attending circumstances, and the intentions of those involved,” he said, pointing to the traditional criteria of moral theology for evaluating human actions. But in this process, he insisted “the patient has the primary role.” The Holy Father also raised the issue of “a systemic tendency toward growing inequality in health care,” both globally – especially between different continents – and within individual, especially wealthy countries, where options for health care often depend more on “economic resources,” than the “actual need for treatment.” It is important, Pope Francis said, to find agreed solutions to “these sensitive issues.” He emphasized the need to recognize different world views and ethical systems, but also noted the duty of the state to protect the dignity of every human person, especially the most vulnerable. Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ letter: To My Venerable Brother Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia President of the Pontifical Academy for Life   I extend my cordial greetings to you and to all the participants in the European Regional Meeting of the World Medical Association on end-of-life issues, held in the Vatican in conjunction with the Pontifical Academy for Life. Your meeting will address questions dealing with the end of earthly life.  They are questions that have always challenged humanity, but that today take on new forms by reason of increased knowledge and the development of new technical tools.  The growing therapeutic capabilities of medical science have made it possible to eliminate many diseases, to improve health and to prolong people’s life span.  While these developments have proved quite positive, it has also become possible nowadays to extend life by means that were inconceivable in the past.  Surgery and other medical interventions have become ever more effective, but they are not always beneficial: they can sustain, or even replace, failing vital functions, but that is not the same as promoting health.  Greater wisdom is called for today, because of the temptation to insist on treatments that have powerful effects on the body, yet at times do not serve the integral good of the person. Some sixty years ago, Pope Pius XII, in a memorable address to anaesthesiologists and intensive care specialists, stated that there is no obligation to have recourse in all circumstances to every possible remedy and that, in some specific cases, it is permissible to refrain from their use (cf. AAS XLIX [1957], 1027-1033).  Consequently, it is morally licit to decide not to adopt therapeutic measures, or to discontinue them, when their use does not meet that ethical and humanistic standard that would later be called “due proportion in the use of remedies” (cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration on Euthanasia , 5 May 1980, IV: AAS LXXII [1980], 542-552).  The specific element of this criterion is that it considers “the result that can be expected, taking into account the state of the sick person and his or her physical and moral resources” (ibid.).  It thus makes possible a decision that is morally qualified as withdrawal of “overzealous treatment”. Such a decision responsibly acknowledges the limitations of our mortality, once it becomes clear that opposition to it is futile.  “Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church , No. 2278).  This difference of perspective restores humanity to the accompaniment of the dying, while not attempting to justify the suppression of the living.  It is clear that not adopting, or else suspending, disproportionate measures, means avoiding overzealous treatment; from an ethical standpoint, it is completely different from euthanasia, which is always wrong, in that the intent of euthanasia is to end life and cause death. Needless to say, in the face of critical situations and in clinical practice, the factors that come into play are often difficult to evaluate.  To determine whether a clinically appropriate medical intervention is actually proportionate, the mechanical application of a general rule is not sufficient.  There needs to be a careful discernment of the moral object, the attending circumstances, and the intentions of those involved.  In caring for and accompanying a given patient, the personal and relational elements in his or her life and death – which is after all the last moment in life – must be given a consideration befitting human dignity.  In this process, the patient has the primary role.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes this clear: “The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able” (loc. cit.). The patient, first and foremost, has the right, obviously in dialogue with medical professionals, to evaluate a proposed treatment and to judge its actual proportionality in his or her concrete case, and necessarily refusing it if such proportionality is judged lacking.  That evaluation is not easy to make in today's medical context, where the doctor-patient relationship has become increasingly fragmented and medical care involves any number of technological and organizational aspects. It should also be noted that these processes of evaluation are conditioned by the growing gap in healthcare possibilities resulting from the combination of technical and scientific capability and economic interests.  Increasingly sophisticated and costly treatments are available to ever more limited and privileged segments of the population, and this raises questions about the sustainability of healthcare delivery and about what might be called a systemic tendency toward growing inequality in health care.  This tendency is clearly visible at a global level, particularly when different continents are compared.  But it is also present within the more wealthy countries, where access to healthcare risks being more dependent on individuals’ economic resources than on their actual need for treatment. In the complexity resulting from the influence of these various factors on clinical practice, but also on medical culture in general, the supreme commandment of responsible closeness , must be kept uppermost in mind, as we see clearly from the Gospel story of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37).  It could be said that the categorical imperative is to never abandon the sick.  The anguish associated with conditions that bring us to the threshold of human mortality, and the difficulty of the decision we have to make, may tempt us to step back from the patient.  Yet this is where, more than anything else, we are called to show love and closeness, recognizing the limit that we all share and showing our solidarity.  Let each of us give love in his or her own way—as a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother or sister, a doctor or a nurse.  But give it!  And even if we know that we cannot always guarantee healing or a cure, we can and must always care for the living, without ourselves shortening their life, but also without futilely resisting their death.  This approach is reflected in palliative care, which is proving most important in our culture, as it opposes what makes death most terrifying and unwelcome—pain and loneliness. Within democratic societies, these sensitive issues must be addressed calmly, seriously and thoughtfully, in a way open to finding, to the extent possible, agreed solutions, also on the legal level.  On the one hand, there is a need to take into account differing world views, ethical convictions and religious affiliations, in a climate of openness and dialogue.  On the other hand, the state cannot renounce its duty to protect all those involved, defending the fundamental equality whereby everyone is recognized under law as a human being living with others in society.  Particular attention must be paid to the most vulnerable, who need help in defending their own interests.  If this core of values essential to coexistence is weakened, the possibility of agreeing on that recognition of the other which is the condition for all dialogue and the very life of society will also be lost.  Legislation on health care also needs this broad vision and a comprehensive view of what most effectively promotes the common good in each concrete situation.  In the hope that these reflections may prove helpful, I offer you my cordial good wishes for a serene and constructive meeting.  I also trust that you will find the most appropriate ways of addressing these delicate issues with a view to the good of all those whom you meet and those with whom you work in your demanding profession. May the Lord bless you and the Virgin Mary protect you.   From the Vatican, 7 November 2017 (from Vatican Radio)...
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World Day of the Poor: A day for giving and receiving

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 01:48
(Vatican Radio) This Sunday parishes in Rome and around the world will mark the first World Day of the Poor which is just one of the fruits of the Jubilee of Mercy. The Pontifical Council for the Promotion for the New Evangelization has been tasked with the organization of the initiative called by Pope Francis. “The Holy Father announced this initiative, occasion, this opportunity for grace during the Jubilee when he reached out to those who are socially marginalized and so this is an opportunity for the Church around the world to not only celebrate and assist and be with those who are poor, but also to change our attitudes about poverty”, says Monsignor Geno Sylva, English language official at the Council. Listen to Lydia O'Kane's interview with Monsignor Geno Sylva, English language official at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion for the New Evangelization: Giving and receiving He points out that, “this World Day of the Poor, it’s so beautiful because it’s nothing about power, it’s nothing about anything else but reciprocity, giving and receiving.”  “We are all poor in some way” … notes Mons Sylva, “and everybody’s got something to give, something to offer and this day can serve to open our minds and hearts, our attitudes towards the poverty that exists every day of the year.” He goes on to say that, Pope Francis, “continues to focus the Church, its attention towards how is it we respond to poverty institutionally, but also to people individually.” Marking World Day of the Poor The World Day of the Poor is being marked not only in Rome, but also in parishes around the world and Mons Sylva says that the Pontifical Council for the Promotion for the New Evangelization has published information on its website in six languages as a pastoral aid for dioceses and parishes worldwide who wish to take part in this initiative Some of the events organized in Rome include a prayer vigil in the church of St Lawrence Outside the Walls on Saturday 18th at 8pm. There will also be a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on Sunday morning the 19th which will see some four thousand needy people take part, followed by a lunch in the Paul VI hall. (from Vatican Radio)...
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General Audience: Holy Mass is the prayer "par excellence"

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 07:42
Reading: Luke 11,1-4 [1] He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” [2]He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. [3] Give us each day our daily bread [4] and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” (Vatican Radio) At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis resumed his catechesis on the Holy Mass. The Mass, the Pope said, is prayer – or rather, it is “the prayer par excellence , the highest, the most sublime, and at the same time, the most ‘concrete’ … it is an encounter with the Lord.” “But what is prayer, really?” Pope Francis asked. “it is first of all dialogue, a relationship with God.” Man, he continued, “was created as a being in personal relationship with God, who finds his full realization only in the encounter with His Creator.” God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is Himself “a perfect relationship of love that is unity.” Because we are created in “the image and likeness of God,” we too are called to enter into a perfect relationship of love. And it is the Mass, the Eucharist, that is “the privileged moment to be with Christ, and, through Him, with God and with our brothers.” But dialogue also means knowing how to remain silent, in the presence of the other. The Holy Father emphasized the importance of moments of silence when we go to Mass – the liturgy, he said, is not a time for chatting, but a time to recollect ourselves, to prepare our hearts for the encounter with Jesus. Jesus Himself often went off to “a place apart” in order to pray; and His disciples, seeing His intimate relationship with the Father, asked Him how to pray. “Jesus says that the first thing necessary for prayer” is to be able to call God “Father.” Pope Francis said, “If I cannot say ‘Father’ to God, I can’t pray. We have to learn to say ‘Father,’ that is, to put ourselves into His presence with filial confidence.” In this sense, he continued, we must be like children, able to entrust ourselves entirely to God, as children do with their parents. And, like children, we must also have a sense of wonder, we must “allow ourselves to be surprised.” When we speak to God in prayer, the Pope said, it is not talking to God “like parrots.” Instead it means “entrusting ourselves and opening our hearts to allow ourselves to wonder.” The encounter with God in Mass, he said, “is always a living encounter, it is not a meeting in a museum.” Pope Francis recalled the Gospel account of Nicodemus’ meeting with Jesus. In their encounter, Jesus spoke about the need to be born again. But how is this possible, the Pope asked? “This is a fundamental question of our faith,” he said, “and this is the desire of every true believer: the desire to be reborn, the joy of beginning anew.” Pope Francis asked his audience, “Do we have this desire? Does each one of us have the desire to always be reborn in order to encounter the Lord? Do you have this desire?” In fact, the Pope concluded, “the Lord surprises us by showing us that He loves us even in our weakness.” In the Mass, in our encounter with Jesus, “the Lord encounters our fragility in order to bring us back to our first calling: that of being in the image and likeness of God.” This, Pope Francis said, “is the environment of the Eucharist, this is the prayer.” Listen to our report:  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican announces initaitives for first World Day of Poor

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:20
(Vatican Radio) This Sunday, November 19th marks the first World Day of the Poor , which Pope Francis called for at the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation on Tuesday announced a number of special events that are taking place throughout the week to highlight this annual initiative. Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report: On Sunday morning in St Peter’s Basilica, some four thousand poor and needy people, accompanied by volunteers from Italy, France, Spain, Brussels, Luxembourg and Poland will take part in a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis. Following the Eucharist, 1.500 of the visitors will be invited to lunch in the adjacent Paul VI Hall, while the other 2.500 guests will be taken to lunch in some of the Catholic colleges, seminaries and charitable organisations in the vicinity of the Vatican. Festive lunch in Paul VI Hall Those dining in the Paul VI Hall will be served a meal of gnocchi with tomato sauce and veal stew with vegetables, plus tiramisu and coffee for desert, all prepared by papal chef Sergio Dussin from Bassano del Grappa in Italy’s northern Veneto region. The Vatican police band and a children’s choir will provide background music for the festive lunch, which has been organised in collaboration with a number of local charity organisations and parishes. Prayer vigil at St Lawrence Basilica On the previous evening, Saturday 18th at 8pm, there will also be a prayer vigil in the ancient Rome Basilica of St Lawrence to remember volunteers all over the world who offer their services in support of the poor and marginalized. Throughout the week of the 13th to 19th November, meanwhile, a mobile clinic has been set up just in front of St Peter’s Square offering free specialized medical services between the hours of 9am and 4pm. Free medical services A special booklet marking this first World Day of the Poor has also been published in six languages as a pastoral aid for dioceses and parishes worldwide who wish to take part in this important initiative. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Card. Parolin urges US Bishops to work for a more just and inclusive society

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 10:24
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Pietro Parolin has urged US Bishops to continue their prophetic witness in the face of the challenges facing the nation. The Vatican Secretary of State’s words came as he travelled to the United States to join celebrations for the 100th anniversary of their episcopal conference and for the opening of their plenary assembly .  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : To the Bishops gathered for Mass on Sunday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, Cardinal Pietro Parolin reflected on the liturgical reading of the day and said “May the fire of God's love inspire you as a body to make wise decisions free of all partisan spirit.” This year’s plenary marks the centenary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that was founded in 1917 as the National Catholic War Council. The conference, Parolin said, “originated in a Spirit-filled and wise response to the human suffering and displacement of the First World War.”  He noted that it is rooted in the care of American bishops for those who were “forced from their homes and came to the new world in search of security and a new life”. Parolin recalled this history as, he said, “the Church in the US seeks to provide healing, comfort, and hope to new waves of migrants and refugees.” He urged the bishops to provide a prophetic witness and “to be a source of wisdom and strength” and he praised the charitable institutions of the American Church. The Cardinal also looked forward to a series of meetings which are being held to assess and improve Hispanic ministry in the US noting that it is a way to “foster that heightened sense of missionary discipleship which Pope Francis considers the heart of the new evangelization.” “In the century prior to the founding of your conference, the challenge facing the Church in this country was to foster communion in an immigrant Church to integrate the diversity of peoples, languages, and cultures in the one faith, and to inculcate a sense of responsible citizenship and concern for the common good” he said. Cardinal Parolin said the Catholic community is now called to work for a more just and inclusive society “by dispelling the shadows of polarization, divisiveness, and societal breakdown by the pure light of the gospel.”  He praised the bishops for defending the right to life of the unborn and for their concern for ensuring access to health care as well as for their contribution to the discussion of important social issues and political debates, in particular concerning issues that involve “the defense of moral values and the rights of the poor, the elderly, the vulnerable, and those who have no voice.” Parolin concluded mentioning the importance of pastoral care and giving thanks for the Spirit's gift of wisdom shown in the bishops' conference, and prayed that that they “ make keep the lamp of faith burning brightly.” The US Bishops assembly meetings are scheduled to continue through Wednesday. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Programme of Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to Peru and Chile released

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 02:56
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican has released the details of Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey to Peru and Chile, due to take place from the 15th to 22 January 2018. Please find below the full programme:   Monday January 15, 2018   ROME-SANTIAGO   08:00 Departure by plane from Rome / Fiumicino to Santiago   20:10 Arrival at Santiago International Airport               WELCOME CEREMONY   21:00 Arrival of the Holy Father at the Apostolic Nunciature   Tuesday, January 16, 2018   SANTIAGO   08:20 MEETING WITH AUTHORITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS in the Palacio de la Moneda            Speech of the Holy Father   09:00 COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT in the Salon Azul of the Palacio de la Moneda    10:30 Holy Mass in Parque O'Higgins             Homily of the Holy Father    16:00 Short VISIT TO THE SANTIAGO WOMEN'S PENITENTIAL CENTER               Greetings from the Holy Father    17:15 MEETING WITH PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS, AND SEMINARIANS in the Cathedral of Santiago                Speech of the Holy Father    18:15 MEETING WITH BISHOPS in the Sacristy of the Cathedral             Greetings from the Holy Father    19:15 PRIVATE VISIT TO THE SANCTUARY by San Alberto Hurtado, SJ             Private meeting with the priests of the Society of Jesus   Wednesday, January 17, 2018   SANTIAGO-TEMUCO-SANTIAGO 08:00 Departure by plane from Santiago airport to Temuco   10:30 HOLY MASS in Maquehue Airport Homily of the Holy Father   12:45 Lunch with archaeologists in the "Madre de la Santa Cruz" house 15:30 Departure by plane from Temuco airport to Santiago 17:00 Arrival at Santiago Airport   17:30 MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE    Speech of the Holy Father    18:30 Transfer by car to the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile   19:00 VISIT TO PONTIFICIAL CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF CHILE             Speech of the Holy Father   Thursday 18 January 2018   SANTIAGO-IQUIQUE-LIMA    08:05 Departure by plane from Santiago airport to Iquique    10:35 Arrival at Iquique International Airport    11:30 HOLY MASS in Campus Lobito            Homily of the Holy Father    14:00 Lunch with Oblate Fathers   16:45 Arrival at Iquique Airport         FAREWELL  CEREMONY    17:05 Departure  from Iquique airport to Lima    PERU   Thursday 18 January 2018   SANTIAGO-IQUIQUE-LIMA   17:20 Arrival at Lima Airport            WELCOME CEREMONY   Friday, January 19, 2018   LIMA-PUERTO MALDONADO-LIMA    08:30 MEETING WITH AUTHORITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY and the DIPLOMATIC CORPS in the Courtyard of Honor              Speech of the Holy Father   09:00 COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT in the Salon of the Ambassadors at the Palacio de Gobierno    09:55 Departure by plane from Lima to Puerto Maldonado    11:45 Arrival at Puerto Maldonado Airport    12:00 MEETING WITH THE AMAZON PEOPLE in the Coliseo Regional Madre de Dios          Speech of the Holy Father   13:15 Lunch with representatives of the Amazonian people    15:45 VISIT TO HOGAR HOUSE             Greetings from the Holy Father    16:50 Departure by plane to Lima    18:40 Arrival at Lima airport    19:00 Private meeting with members of the Society of Jesus in the church of San Pedro    Saturday 20 January 2018   LIMA-TRUJILLO-LIMA    07:40 Departure by plane to Trujillo   09:10 Arrival at Trujillo airport    10:00 HOLY MASS              Homily of the Holy Father    12:15 Visit in  Pope mobile to the district "Buenos Aires"   15:00 Short visit to the Cathedral   15:30 MEETING WITH PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS, SEMINARIANS in SS. Carlos AND Marcelo College              Speech of the Holy Father    16:45 MARIAN CELEBRATION in the Plaza de Armas             Speech of the Holy Father    18:15 Departure by plane to Lima    19:40 Arrival at Lima airport   Sunday, January 21, 2018   LIMA-ROME   09:15 PRAYER WITH CONTEMPLATIVE RELIGIOUS in the Sanctuary of the Señor de los Milagros              Homily of the Holy Father    10:30 PRAYER TO RELIQUES OF PERUVIAN SAINTS in the Cathedral of Lima                Prayer of the Holy Father    10:50 MEETING WITH BISHOPS in the Archbishop's Palace             Speech of the Holy Father   12:00 ANGELUS in the Plaza de Armas             Angelus of the Holy Father   12:30 Lunch and Prayer in Apostolic Nunciature   16:15 Holy Mass in the Air Base "Las Palmas"              Homily of the Holy Father    18:30 Arrive at the airport         FAREWELL CEREMONY   18:45 Departure by plane to Rome / Ciampino   Monday, January 22, 2018   ROME (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pacific Island leaders share climate concerns at COP23

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 08:59
(Vatican Radio) As the COP23 conference on climate change moves into its second week in Bonn, Germany, a delegation of leaders from the Pacific Island states arrived at the talks over the weekend. They hope to play a key role in discussions on how to implement the 2015 Paris agreement on cutting carbon emissions and helping to prevent global warming. Pope Francis met at the weekend with the delegation of leaders from the Pacific Island Forum to share his concerns about the impact of rising sea levels on vulnerable island, coastal and fishing communities. The pope called for global cooperation, for solidarity and strategies to address the deterioration of the environment and the health of the oceans. He blamed many of the causes of this “environmental decay” on short-sighted human activity, provoked by the exploitation of natural and human resources. Just ahead of the papal audience, Philippa Hitchen spoke to two of the Pacific island leaders, Taneti Maamau, President of the Republic of Kiribati , and Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, deputy Prime Minister of Samoa , at an encounter hosted by the Australian embassy to the Holy See. Listen:  Climate change is seriously affecting the livelihood of Karibati in terms of costal erosion, President Maamau says, explaining that it affects the water quality in particular. Roads are also affected in coastal areas and  schools often have to be closed when there are droughts, water surges, king tides and even cyclones. These are becoming regular problems, forcing us to look at alternatives for water supplies, he says. Climate affecting lives and livelihoods   He lists a few alternatives, such as rainwater harvesting, which is problematic as it is entirely dependent upon sufficient rainfall. Other solutions, such as desalination of seawater, are also being examined, the president says, but these new technologies are expensive in terms of both importation and maintenance. Time is running out President Maamau says he is looking for a bigger commitment for reducing global temperatures, especially from larger, coal producing countries. For him , the sooner the agreements are made, the better. “We can’t wait. Our people are crying out!” the president states, simply. Gratitude for Laudato SI ' President Maamau says he finds great encouragement in Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si . “The earth is our home, our mother”, he says, and we have to take care of it. That’s the divine mandate we were given, he adds, but sometimes, we are too greedy, hoping we can take everything in our hands to satisfy our needs. But sometimes we take too much and that’s causing trouble. My message to Pope Francis is, thank you!”  the President says. Seeking to lower 2 degrees limit Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa notes that the Pacific nations have been advocating strongly to further limit the raising of the global temperature  to 1.5 degrees, rather than 2 degrees. With scientific evidence pointing to an acceleration of climate change, she says, the Pacific Island nations are hoping to show how urgent the issue is, as well as proposing realistic ideas on how to achieve the 1.5 limit. Responding to U.S. decision Mata’afa, who is also the Samoan minister for the Environment says “We will also have to look at whether we can strategize and organise as a community of parties” to respond to the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. No country can escape the effects The deputy prime minister says that while Samoa is predominantly volcanic, other low lying countries like Tuvalu, Tokelau or Kiribati are experiencing serious impact, both in terms of encroachment of land and water tables. Several countries have already purchased land in Fiji in response to the risks, but she notes the question of sovereignty is a pressing one. “What happens to a country when they lose their land, how do you re-determine your sovereignty, maintain your cultural identities and so forth?” she asks. Mata’afa notes these are global problems, “but the immediacy of the issue is there for us”. We’re seeing natural disasters increase all around the world and no country can claim to be free from the effects of climate change, she says. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope sends condolences to Iran, Iraq following deadly earthquake

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 08:12
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a pair of telegrammes to Iraq and Iran on Monday, expressing his condolences for the damage and loss of life caused by Sunday's severe earthquake. Listen to Devin Watkins' report: In the two messages signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis says he "was deeply saddened" by news of the 7.3-magnitude earthquake which struck the border region between Iran and Iraq. He assured all those affected by the tragedy of his "prayerful solidarity" and his "sorrow to all who mourn the loss of their loved ones". The Pope also offered "his prayers for the deceased and commends them to the mercy of the Almighty." Pope Francis closed his messages by invoking "the divine blessings of consolation and strength" upon the injured and "the emergency and civil authorities engaged in rescue and recovery efforts". Please find below the Pope's original telegrammes: Message - Iraq: His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the severe earthquake which has struck Iraq, and he assures all affected by this tragedy of his prayerful solidarity.  In expressing his sorrow to all who mourn the loss of their loved ones, he offers his prayers for the deceased and commends them to the mercy of the Almighty.  Upon the injured and the emergency and civil authorities engaged in rescue and recovery efforts, His Holiness invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength. Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State Message to Iran: His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the severe earthquake which has struck Iran, and he assures all affected by this tragedy of his prayerful solidarity.  In expressing his sorrow to all who mourn the loss of their loved ones, he offers his prayers for the deceased and commends them to the mercy of the Almighty.  Upon the injured and the emergency and civil authorities engaged in rescue and recovery efforts, His Holiness invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength. Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Santa Marta: scandal wounds hearts and kills hope

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 06:26
(Vatican Radio) Scandal wounds hearts and kills hopes: this was the core of Pope Francis ’ remarks to the faithful following the Gospel at Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae . “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,” the Pope said, recalling the words of Our Lord in the Gospel reading, “but woe to the one through whom they occur.” Hence the warning to his disciples: “Be on your guard!” “So, be careful not to scandalize. Scandal is evil, because scandal wounds – it wounds God’s People where they are most vulnerable, and strikes the People of God where they are weakest – and many times, the wounds inflicted by scandal are borne by the faithful throughout their lives. Not only does it do harm: scandal is capable of murder – of killing hopes, killing dreams, killing families, killing so many hearts.” Click below to hear our report The Holy Father stressed that Christ ’s warning, “Be on your guard!” is a warning for everyone, and especially to people who call themselves Christian, but live as Pagans. This is “the scandal of the People of God .”: “How many Christians , by their example, with their inconsistency, drive people away from the Faith: the incoherence of Christians is one of the readiest weapons the devil has to weaken the People of God and to divert the People of God from the Lord – to say one thing and do another.” This is the “incoherence” which gives scandal, which today gives us to ask ourselves, “How coherent is my life? How coherent is it with the Gospel, How coherent is it with the Lord ?” The Pope then offered the example of Christian entrepreneurs who do not pay just wages and who exploit people for their own gain, or even the scandal given by pastors in the Church, who, careless of their sheep, see them wander off and away. “ Jesus tells us that we cannot serve two masters: both God and money – and when the pastor is one who is attached to money, he gives scandalize. People are scandalized: the shepherd, attached to money. Every shepherd must ask: How is my friendship with money? Or the shepherd who seeks to rise: vanity leads him to climb, instead of being gentle, humble, because meekness and humility favor closeness to the people – or the shepherd who feels himself a lord, and lords it over everyone, proud, and not the servant-pastor of God’s People .” Pope Francis concluded saying, “Let today be the propitious day, on which to make this examination of conscience: Do I give scandal? If so, how? Thus, shall we be able to answer the Lord and approach Him a little more closely.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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The Vatican calls for integral nuclear disarmament

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 09:12
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican is calling for integral nuclear disarmament. According to the preliminary conclusions of a just-ended high level symposium entitled “Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament” , integral disarmament is both an urgent immediate need and a long-term process. The symposium, organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development got underway as tensions escalated between the US and North Korea.  It saw the participation of eleven Nobel peace laureates, top United Nations and NATO officials, leading experts, ‎heads of  major foundations and of civil society organizations, as well representatives of bishops conferences, Christian denominations and other faiths. Pope Francis addressed the gathering on Friday. Wrapping up the symposium on Saturday, Cardinal Peter Turkson , President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, read out the following preliminary conclusions :  The Dicastery brought together religious leaders and representatives of civil society, officials of States and international organizations, noted academics and Nobel Laureates and students, to illuminate the connections between integral disarmament and integral development, and to explore the links among development, disarmament and peace.  As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, repeatedly reminds us, “everything is connected.”  1.     The use and possession of nuclear weapons deserves condemnation since they are indiscriminate and disproportionate instruments of war. In addressing us, Pope Francis said, “If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned.” Similarly, reprehensible are tests of nuclear weapons and the fall out which contaminate the atmosphere and the oceans; as global public good their contamination could constitute crimes against humanity. 2.     Nuclear deterrence does not adequately address the challenges of security in a multi-polar world.  In March 2017 our Holy Father wrote in a message: “If we take into consideration the principal threats to peace and security with their many dimensions in this multipolar world of the twenty-first century as, for example, terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, poverty, not a few doubts arise regarding the inadequacy of nuclear deterrence as an effective response to such challenges.” 3.     Nuclear deterrence does not create a stable or secure peace; it contributes to fear and conflict.  As our Holy Father said to us: “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security.”  They also create a culture of “mutual intimidation” in the international system. 4.     Spending on nuclear weapons wastes resources that are needed to address the root causes of conflicts and to promote development and peace.  5.     The humanitarian impacts of the use of nuclear weapons are devastating and planetary. 6.     A world without nuclear weapons is possible. Pope Francis encouraged us to hope that “…progress that is effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression…..” 7.     Peace is built on the foundation of justice. Integral disarmament and integral development are connected.  As Pope Francis recalled, Pope Paul VI “set forth the notion of integral human development and proposed it as ‘the new name for peace’.” 8.     Nuclear disarmament is a global issue, requiring a global response.  As Pope Francis wrote in March 2017:  “Growing interdependence and globalization mean that any response to the threat of nuclear weapons should be collective and concerted, based on mutual trust.” 9.      Integral disarmament is both an immediate urgent need and a long-term process.  In March 2017 Pope Francis made clear:  “Achieving a world without nuclear weapons involves a long-term process, based on the awareness that ‘everything is connected’ within the perspective of an integral ecology (cf. Laudato Si’, 117, 138). The common destiny of mankind demands the pragmatic strengthening of dialogue and the building and consolidating of mechanisms of trust and cooperation, capable of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.” 10.  Dialogue is essential.  This dialogue must be inclusive, engaging both nuclear States and non-nuclear States, and involving civil society, international organizations, governments and religious communities.  In particular, the Catholic Church is committed to advance this dialogue at all levels. 11.  Call upon States that have not yet done so, to consider signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 12.  Most importantly, let us commit our efforts to the call for integral nuclear disarmament to prayer by all! Everything is connected; and everyone is connected.  Together we can rid the world of nuclear weapons, invest in integral human development, and build peace.  These preliminary conclusions do not represent the end of the conversation, but rather the beginning of future dialogue and action. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Angelus: 'charity fuels faith making it fruitful and credible'

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 08:30
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday told the faithful that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be ready to meet with the Lord.  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer , the Pope also said that it is not sufficient to lead a life of faith; a Christian must also be fueled by charity. The parable of the ten virgins Recalling the parable of the ten virgins the Pope said one must not wait for “the last moment of our lives to collaborate with God’s grace: you must do it now!” he said.      Quoting from the liturgical reading in which the Lord said to the foolish virgins “Stay awake for you know neither the day nor the hour” Francis explained that Jesus is telling us that ‘staying awake’ does not mean only not to fall asleep: it is an exhortation to be prepared. Charity fuels and safeguards faith The lamp, the Pope said, is “the symbol of faith that illuminates our lives”. Oil, he continued, “is the symbol of charity which fuels the lamp making the light of faith fruitful and credible”.  “A life that is poor in charity is devoid of true light” he said. “If we let ourselves be guided by what appears to be most convenient, seeking only to protect and nurture our interests, our lives become sterile and incapable of giving life to others; in this way we do not store a stock of oil for the lamp of our faith which will be extinguished at the time of the Lord's coming, or even before that” he said. “The condition to be ready to meet with the Lord, Pope Francis said, is not only faith, but a Christian life full of love and charity for our neighbour.” Always be prepared to meet the Lord He urged Christians always to “be vigilant and to try to do good through actions of love, sharing and service” to our brothers in difficulty so we can serenely await the arrival of the groom. We know, he continued that “the Lord may come at any time, but even the slumber of death will not scare us if we have a supply of oil that we have accumulated through good works every day”. “Faith inspires charity and charity safeguards faith” he said. Giving thanks for Spanish martyrs After the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled the beatification ceremony that took place in Madrid on Saturday during which Vicente Queralt LLoret and 20 of his martyred companions and José Maria Fernández Sánchez and 38 of his martyred companions were proclaimed blessed. “They were all killed in hatred for the faith during the religious persecution that took place during the 1936 – 1937 Spanish Civil War” he said. Pope Francis concluded giving thanks to God for the great gift of these witnesses of Christ and of the Gospel.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope addresses Pacific Islands Forum leaders

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 07:53
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Saturday shared the concerns of island, coastal and fishing communities, and called for global cooperation, solidarity and strategies to address issues such as the deterioration of the environment and the health of oceans. Meeting some 46 members of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in the Vatican, the Pope shared the concerns of those exposed to frequent extreme environmental and climate events, and the impact of rising sea levels and the continuous deterioration of the barrier reef. He blamed many of the causes of this “environmental decay” on the short-sighted human activity… connected with certain ways ‎of exploiting natural and human resources. Earth without borders The Pope however expressed satisfaction that the problem of global warming and rising sea levels that mainly affect  impoverished coastal populations, are being discussed in international forums, such as the on-going United Nations COP-23 Climate Change Conference in Bonn . He evoked the vision of an “earth without borders” that calls for the need for a global outlook, international cooperation and solidarity, and a shared strategy, to address environmental problems. He lamented that since the appeal by the Filipino bishops nearly 30 years ago, the situation of the oceans and the marine ecosystem, especially the barrier reef, has not really improved.  We still face problems, including pollution caused by the accumulation ‎of plastics and micro-plastics in oceans, the Pope said.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope sends video message to CEI conference on Amoris laetitia

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 06:07
Pope Francis sent a video message on Saturday morning, to the participants in a conference organized by the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) on the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris laetitia . Below, you will find the full text of the Holy Father 's remarks, in our English translation.   ******************************************* Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! I cordially greet all of you who attend the third International Symposium on the Apostolic Exhortation,  Amoris Laetitia , convened by the Office for Pastoral Care of the Family of the Italian Bishops’ Conference. The theme you have proposed:  The Gospel of Love between Conscience and Norm , is of great importance, and can illuminate the path that the Churches in Italy are taking, in order to respond to the  desire for family  that emerges in the soul of the young generations. Love between a man and a woman is obviously among the most generative human experiences; it is the leaven of a culture of  encounter, and introduces to the present world an injection of sociality. Indeed “the good of the family is decisive for the future of the world and of the Church.  (Amoris laetitia , 31)” The family born of marriage creates fruitful bonds, which reveal themselves to be the most effective antidote against the individualism that currently runs rampant; however, along the journey of marital love and family life there are situations that require arduous choices, which must be made with rectitude. In the domestic reality, sometimes there are concrete knots to be addressed with prudent conscience on the part of each. It is important that spouses, parents, be not left alone, but accompanied in their commitment to applying the Gospel to the concreteness of life. On the other hand, we know well that “we are called to form consciences, not to pretend to substitute them. ( Ibid ., 37)” The contemporary world risks confusing the primacy of conscience, which is always to be respected, with the exclusive autonomy of the individual with respect to the relations that he entertains in life. As I said recently to the Pontifical Academy for Life, “There are those who even speak of ego-latry, that is, of a true worship of the ego, on whose altar is sacrificed everything, including the dearest affections. This perspective is not harmless: it molds a subject that looks constantly in the mirror, until it becomes incapable of turning its eyes to others and the world. The spread of this attitude has most serious consequences for all the affections and ties of life. (5 Oct., 2017)” This is a “pollution” that corrodes souls and confounds minds and hearts, producing false illusions. Romano Guardini, in a text on the subject of conscience, indicates the way to the search for the true good. He writes: “From this imprisonment in myself I am free only if I find a point, which is not my ego: a height higher than myself; something solid and working in my interior – and behold! Here we are come to the core [...] that is, to religious reality. That good [...] is something alive. [...] It is the fullness of worth, which belongs to the selfsame living God. ( La coscienza , Brescia 1933, 32-33)” In the very depths of each one of us there is a place wherein the Mystery reveals itself, and illuminates the person, making the person the protagonist of his story. Conscience, as the II Vatican Council recalls, is this, “most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths. ( GS  16)” To the Christian falls the task of being vigilant, so that in this sort of tabernacle is no want of divine grace, which illuminates and strengthens married love and parental mission. Grace fills the  amphorae  of human hearts with an extraordinary capacity for gift, renewing for the families of today the miracle of the wedding feast at Cana. Commenting on that Gospel episode, I have been able to say that, “By transforming into wine the water of the jars used ‘for the Jewish rites of purification’ (Jn 2:6), Jesus preforms an eloquent sign: he transforms the Law of Moses into the Gospel, bearer of joy. (Gen. Audience, June 8, 2016)” Jesus points in particular to the medicine of mercy, which cures the hardness of the heart, restoring the relationship between husband and wife, and between parents and children. Dear Brothers and Sisters, I wish all the best for your work in this Symposium. Let the Church in Italy help to assimilate and develop  Amoris laetitia ’s content and style; may she contribute to the formation of family group animators in parishes, associations, and movements; may she support the journey of so many families, helping them to live the joy of the Gospel, and to be active cells in the community. I bless you, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope addresses disarmament conference

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:22
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed the participants in an international symposium on disarmament and development on Friday. The two-day event has been organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in order to address issues that are critical both in themselves and in the light of the complex political challenges of the current international scene. In remarks prepared for the participants and delivered shortly after noon on Friday in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, Pope Francis said nuclear weapons,  “exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race.” He went on to say, “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security.” Click below to hear our report “International relations,” he continued, “cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms.  They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity (cf. Message to the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons , 27 March 2017).”  Pope Francis also addressed the need to recover a sense of the proper end of scientific enterprise, saying, “[T]rue science is always at the service of humanity,” even though, “in our time we are increasingly troubled by the misuse of certain projects originally conceived for a good cause.”  Noting that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio , in which Bl. Paul VI articulated the idea of integral human development and proposed it as “the new name of peace”, Pope Francis said, “We need, then, to reject the culture of waste and to care for individuals and peoples labouring under painful disparities through patient efforts to favour processes of solidarity over selfish and contingent interests.” Solidarity also goes hand-in-hand with integrating the individual and the social dimensions through the application of the principle of subsidiarity, in view of the need to promote human beings in the indissoluble unity of soul and body, of contemplation and action. “In this way,” continued Pope Francis, “progress that is both effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression, contrary to the criticism of those who consider idealistic any process of dismantling arsenals.”   The Holy Father concluded, saying, “The Church does not tire of offering the world this wisdom and the actions it inspires, conscious that integral development is the beneficial path that the human family is called to travel,” encouraging participants to carry forward this activity with patience and constancy, in the trust that the Lord is ever at our side, and asking God to bless each of the participants and their efforts in the service of justice and peace. (from Vatican Radio)...
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The Pope urges Ukrainian seminarians to sow culture of peace

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:37
(Vatican Radio) Celebrating 85 years since the foundation of Saint Josaphat's Ukrainian Pontifical College in Rome, Pope Francis encouraged Ukrainian seminarians to become shepherds of communities in which love and respect for others will flourish. The Saint Josaphat College was founded upon the wish of Pope Pius XI and is currently run by the Basilian monastic order. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : In his message to future Ukrainian priests, Pope Francis recalled that the institution was built with the intent of conveying a message of love and closeness to those faithful “who live in areas of suffering and persecution”. He invited them to prepare for their apostolic mission as deacons and priests studying the Church's Social Doctrine and recalling the example of Pope Pius XI whom, he said, “always and firmly raised his voice in defending the faith, the freedom of the Church and the transcendent dignity of every human person” while condemning the atheistic and inhumane ideologies that bloodied the 20th century. “Also today the world is world is wounded by wars and violence” the Pope said with a particular reference to the beloved Ukrainian nation “from which you came and to where you will return” after having completed your studies in Rome. Backing his encouragement to spread a culture of peace and acceptance with words from the Gospel, the Pope said “to you, seminarians and priests of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, these challenges may seem out of your reach; but let us remember the words of the Apostle John: I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.” The Pope said that by loving and proclaiming the Word they will become true shepherds of the communities that will be entrusted to them. “It [the Word] will be the lamp that illuminates your heart and your home, whether you prepare for celibacy or for married priesthood, according to tradition of your Church” he said. Francis invited them to love and to guard their traditions avoiding all forms of sectarianism and he urged them to ask their flocks “to learn to love and respect each other, to abandon their weapons, to reject war and all kinds of abuse”. “Never forget the Covenant between God and mankind” he said. The Pope invoked the intercession of the Holy Mother of God who is venerated in the Ukrainian National Shrine of Zarvanytsya. “She wants the priests of her Son to be like the torches lit at night in front of her Shrine reminding everyone, especially the poor and the suffering, and even those who perpetrate evil and sow violence and destruction, that the people who walked in the darkness saw a great light; that a light shone upon those who lived in a land of shadows” he said. Pope Francis concluded revealing a personal devotion to the Ukrainian icon of Our Lady of Tenderness, a gift of the Major Archbishop from when they were together in Buenos Aires, and sharing his memory of a Ukrainian priest, Father Stepan Chmil, whom he knew when he was a young boy back in 1949 and from whom he learnt how to be an altar boy for the Ukrainian Mass: “He spoke of the persecutions, of the suffering, of the ideologies that persecuted Christians. And he taught me to be open to a different liturgy, something I always keep in my heart”. The Pope also said that last time he was in Buenos Aires, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church had asked him for testimonies with which to open the canonization process of Father Chmil who was ordained bishop in secrecy: “I wanted to remember him today because it is an act of justice to thank him before you for the good that he did to me”. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends message to conference on Paul VI

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:50
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to participants at a conference taking place in Rome on the theme ‘Pope Paul VI, the pope of modernity”. In the message Pope Francis notes that the conference is taking place 50 years after the publication of his predecessor’s encyclical ‘ Popolorum Progressio ’, often described as one of the key Catholic Social Teaching documents. Listen to our report: That encyclical, he said, sought to be a “solemn appeal for concerted action in favour of integral human development”. The appeal remains just as urgent today, Pope Francis said, as poverty increases and peace is threatened on a daily basis in different parts of the world. In order to build peace, he continued,Pope we must eliminate the causes of discord, starting with injustice, since peace is the work of justice. Thus, he said, the conference reflections focused on ‘justice among peoples’ is particularly topical,  inspired by a sense of ‘The Gospel in motion’, bringing Christian faith, hope and charity to the men and women of today. Finally, Pope Francis noted that the conference is also exploring the theme of Paul VI’s love for Italy. He emphasized the fact that the soul of the Italian people bears witness to a genuine solidarity which is at the basis of all our human communities. We must never tire of promoting this witness of authentic humanism, he said, without which our dignity is at risk. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Mass: building and purification of Church begins from us

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:33
Pope Francis on Thursday spoke about the duty of every Christian  of  "building the Church, safeguarding the Church and Purifying the Church".  Delivering a homily at his morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, he spoke about the three tasks on the liturgical feast the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Cathedral of Rome Diocese, known as the "mother of all the Churches".  The Pope said this title is not a “cause of pride but of service and of love.”   Listen to our report: Building Regarding building the Church, the Pope said one must first of all know that Jesus Christ is its foundation.  The Pope said, “He is the corner stone of this building,” and  “without Jesus Christ there is no Church.”  A Church without foundation will just collapse, he warned.  A Church without a living Jesus will come down.  He further explained that "we are the living stones" of this Church. All are not same but each one is different, and this, the Pope stressed, is the wealth of the Church.  Each one of us builds according to the gift God has given us, he said, adding, a uniform Church is not a Church. Safeguarding Speaking about safeguarding the Church, the Pope said it means being aware of the Holy Spirit who is in us.  The Pope lamented that many Christians know Jesus Christ and the Father because they pray the “Our Father”.  But speak to them about the Holy Spirit, and He is associated with a dove and nothing more.  But the Pope insisted that the Holy Spirit is the life of the Church and He is your and my life. We, the temple of the Holy Spirit, he said, must safeguard Him as St. Paul urges Christians not to “sadden the Holy Spirit”, i.e. not to go against the harmony that the Holy Spirit creates in us and in the Church.  He is harmony, and He creates harmony in the building. Purifying Finally, regarding the task of  "purifying the Church," the Holy Father said, it begins with us. For this, he said, all need to recognized our sinfulness.  Anyone claiming not be a sinner would be a good curiosity, he said.  Since we all are sinners, we need to purify ourselves continuously.  This in turn purifies the community, the diocesan community, the Christian community and the universal community of the Church.  This is what makes the Church grow, the Pope said.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis bans the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 07:31
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is putting a stop to the sale of cigarettes and tobacco inside Vatican City State. A statement released on Thursday by Greg Burke ,  Director of the Holy See Press Office, explained that the Holy See “cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people.”   Citing the World World Health Organization statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year, he said cigarettes will not be sold at the Vatican as from the beginning of next year. Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, but he said “no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.” “Although the cigarettes sold to employees and pensioners in the Vatican at a reduced price are a source of revenue for the Holy See, no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk” the statement said. He added that the sale of large cigars would continue for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled. (from Vatican Radio)...
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