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

The Vatican Today - 11 hours 18 min ago
(Vatican Radio)  Let us ask the Lord to help us recognize true consolation and to conserve it. That was Pope Francis’ message at morning Mass on Monday in the Casa Santa Marta. Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: Reflecting on the First Reading in his homily, Pope Francis said the Lord “visited His people and returned them to Jerusalem.” The word “visited”, he explained, is important in salvation history, because “every act of redemption by God is a visitation.” “When the Lord visits us He gives us joy, that is, He places us in a state of consolation… You have seeded in tears, but now the Lord consoles us and gives us spiritual consolation. Consolation happens not only in a certain moment in time but is a state in the spiritual life of every Christian. The entire Bible teaches us this.” The Holy Father went on to exhort those present “to wait” for the Lord’s visitation. Some moments are stronger than others, but the Lord “will help us to sense His presence” with spiritual consolation. He said the Christian must recognize consolation, because there are false prophets who seem to console us but are, in fact, tricking us. “The Lord’s consolation moves you and makes you increase in charity, love, and hope, also making you weep for your sins. When we observe Jesus and his Passion, we weep with Jesus… You elevate your soul to the things of Heaven and of God, and your soul is quieted in the peace of God. This is true consolation.” In conclusion, Pope Francis reminded all to thank the Lord in prayer, that He may “pass by” to visit us, helping us to go forward, in hope, to carry our Cross. “Conserve these traces of consolation in your memory, just as God’s people remembered its liberation… Wait for consolation, recognize it, and conserve it. And, what remains from this passing moment? Peace, for peace is the highest level of consolation.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis' 2015 speech to US Congress: still a challenge

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

The Vatican Today - Sun, 09/24/2017 - 08:35
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday – the 25 th Sunday in Ordinary Time – focusing his remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion on the Parable of the Landowner and the Wage-earners, proclaimed as the Gospel reading of the day (Mt. 20:1-16). The Gospel at a glance In that story, Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to a landowner, who hires day-labourers in the early morning, and again at successive hours of the day, at the end of which he instructs his paymaster to give the full day’s wage to all the workers, beginning with those hired at the 11th hour. The labourers of the first hour complain of this treatment, to which the Landowner replies, “I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?” Jesus then explains the lesson, “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Pope Francis reflects Reflecting on the passage, Pope Francis said, “In reality, the ‘injustice’ of the Landowner serves to provoke, in those who hear the parable, an increase in understanding (It. salto di livello ), because Jesus does not want to speak of the problem of labour and of just wages, but of the Kingdom of God.” The Holy Father went on to say, “The message is this: in the Kingdom of God there are no idle hands, all are called to do their part; and for all, at the end, the recompense shall be what comes from divine justice – not human justice, happily – i.e. the salvation that Jesus Christ has acquired with His death and resurrection. This is a salvation that is not merited, but given, for which, ‘The last shall be first, and the first shall be last’.” Click below to hear our report (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: Bl Stanley Rother model of heroic witness

The Vatican Today - Sun, 09/24/2017 - 07:47
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis praised the virtue and example of Blessed Stanley Francis Rother on Sunday, one day after the secular missionary priest originally of Oklahoma in the United States was beatified as a martyr. Bl. Stanley was killed on July 28 th , 1981, after returning to Guatemala to minister to his flock, despite several death threats and warnings his life would be in danger. “Well, a shepherd cannot run from his flock,” he is quoted as saying in explanation of his decision to return in the face of such danger. Click below to hear our report In remarks to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square following the traditional Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis said, “[Saturday], in Oklahoma City, the missionary priest, Stanley Francis Rother, killed in hatred of the faith for his work of evangelization and work to promote the human dignity of the poorest people in Guatemala, was proclaimed Blessed. May his heroic example help us to be courageous witnesses to the Gospel, committed to working in behalf of the dignity of man.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis to Trappists: courageous witness to charism

The Vatican Today - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 10:45
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the General Chapter of the Order of Cistertians of the Strict Observance – the Trappists – which is taking place in Assisi from the 6 th to the 27 th of September. Click below to hear our report The OCSO at a glance Part of the larger Cistercian family, which traces its origin to 1098, the OCSO follow the Rule of St. Benedict , dedicating their lives to the search for union with God through Jesus Christ, in a community of sisters or brothers. All Cistercian monasteries are dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, and the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother is the Order’s patronal feast. The OCSO General Chapter is the supreme authority in the Order, and is prepared by a Central Commission elected by the previous Chapter and whose members are chosen by the various regions of the Order. There are formally two separate Chapters: one for monks and one for nuns – though they meet together every three years, “to foster peace and charity among themselves and to make appropriate decisions for maintaining the patrimony and unity of the Order.” Pope to Trappists: courageous witness to permanent truths In remarks prepared for the occasion of the special audience with participants in the current General Chapter, and delivered Saturday morning in the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis said, “From the outset, the Cistercians of Strict Observance have made themselves known for their great sobriety of life, convinced that to concentrate on the essence and [thus] to reach more easily the joy of the spousal encounter with Christ, should be a valid help.” The Holy Father went on to say, “This element of spiritual and existential simplicity preserves all its value as a [mode of] witness in today’s cultural context, which too often leads to the desire for ephemeral goods and illusory artificial paradises.” “Throughout its history,” said Pope Francis, “your Order has known times of grace and moments of difficulty; but it has always persevered in fidelity to the sequela Christi , having as its purpose the glory of God and the good of the people.” He went on to say, “Continuing in the way of your spiritual tradition, may your read the present state of the Order in its shadows and lights, and in the novelty of the Spirit, identify with courage new possibilities and occasions to witness your charism in the present of the Church and of Society.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis makes surprise visit to Rome neuro rehab centre

The Vatican Today - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 12:57
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday made a surprise visit to a Rome rehabilitation centre for patients with neurological diseases. A statement from the Holy See press office said the afternoon visit was a continuation of the ‘Fridays of Mercy’ initiative that he inaugurated during the recent Jubilee Year to encourage practical gestures of solidarity with those most in need. The Santa Lucia Foundation, located to the south of Rome’s city centre, is well known for its quality care of patients affected by physical or mental disabilities resulting from strokes, bone marrow diseases, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Pope Francis was welcomed by the director and staff of the centre, as well as by the patients and their family members. The Holy Father spent time talking and laughing with many of the young children, watching with particular interest as he was shown some of the exercises which help them to regain their mobility. He also met with older patients, aged between 15 and 25, many of whom suffer from severe disabilities as a result of car accidents. Before leaving the centre, the pope visited a gym providing rehabilitation for the elderly and then spent a few minutes in prayer in a chapel located on the premises. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican to set up joint committee with Muslim World League

The Vatican Today - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 11:55
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has held talks with Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League , accompanied by a delegation. The meeting came during an informal encounter on Wednesday between the World Muslim League delegation and the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue , Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Combat fundamentalism A statement from the Pontifical Council said that the two sides reaffirmed the following points: that religion and violence are incompatible; that religions have moral resources capable of contributing to fraternity and peace; that the phenomenon of fundamentalism, in particular when violent, is troubling and joint efforts are required to counter it. Protect religious freedom In addition, the statement said, situations exist where freedom of conscience and of religion are not entirely respected and protected, so there is an urgent need to remedy this, renewing “religious discourse” and reviewing school books. In conclusion, the statement said both sides agreed to establish a joint permanent committee in the near future. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis meets Peru's President ahead of papal visit

The Vatican Today - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:59
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with the President of the Republic of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard, who is preparing to welcome the Holy Father to the South American nation from January 18th to 21st. A note from the Vatican press office said the two leaders discussed the good relations between Peru and the Holy See, which will be further strengthened by the pope’s upcoming visit to the cities of Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo. Education, environment, developmen t During the cordial discussions, the pope and the president also spoke about the contribution that the Church makes to Peruvian society, including in areas of education, environmental protection, development and poverty eradication. Following the papal audience, the president also met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, as well as the undersecretary for Relations with States, Mgr. Antoine Camilleri to discuss issues of regional and international concern. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to EU Churches: Combat intolerance against migrants

The Vatican Today - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 08:45
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday urged Churches in Europe to step up efforts to combat intolerance, discrimination and xenophobia against migrants and refugees. The pope’s words came in a meeting with national migration directors under the auspices of the Council of European Bishops Conferences or CCEE. He said he was saddened to see that Catholic communities in Europe were also defensive and unwelcoming towards migrants, justifying their attitudes on grounds of conserving their cultural and religious identity. Listen:  Pope Francis said we must recognize and understand this sense of unease, in light of the economic crisis which has left deep wounds in society. Furthermore, he said, governments and communities have been ill prepared to cope with large influxes of migrants, highlighting the limits of the European unification process. Churches become more 'catholic' But from an ecclesiological perspective , the pope said, the arrival of so many Christian brothers and sisters offers the Church in Europe an opportunity to become ever more ‘catholic’. He noted how many migrants and refugees have already enriched parishes in their host countries. Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue From a missionary perspective , he said, ministering to migrants offers new frontiers to announce the Gospel and to witness to our Christian faith, while showing profound respect for other faith traditions. These encounters are fertile ground for developing sincere ecumenical and interreligious relations, he said. Welcome, protect, promote, integrate Pope Francis also noted that in his message for next year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees , he speaks in detail about the need to welcome, protect, promote and integrate all people on the move.  On the basis of these four verbs, he said, the Vatican office for migrants and refugees has published a 20 point action plan for local Churches seeking to promote best practices. Constructive dialogue with governments This action plan, he added, should be shared with all  European bishops conferences, helping to promote constructive dialogue with governments ahead of the Global Compact for Migration , due to be draw up and approved at a United Nations conference in 2018. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends money for Mexico earthquake relief

The Vatican Today - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 12:00
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has given money to the earthquake relief effort in Mexico to help survivors and victims’ families in the worst hit areas of the country. The Vatican said on Thursday that an initial contribution of 150.000 dollars would be sent through the Dicastery for Integral Human Development . The money will be divided between emergency relief efforts in the dioceses worst hit by the earthquake . The 7.1 quake on Tuesday caused at least 250 deaths and widespread damage in the capital and surrounding areas. The donation, which is intended to show the pope’s solidarity and spiritual closeness to those affected by the disaster, is a small part of the financial support being sent to Mexico through many bishops conferences and Caritas organisations . (from Vatican Radio)...
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Spotlight on first American-born martyr in Church’s history ahead of his beatification

The Vatican Today - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 09:32
(Vatican Radio) Father Stanley Rother, the first American-born martyr in the history of the Church is being beatified in Oklahoma City on September 23rd. The U.S. priest was gunned down in Guatamala in 1981 shortly after taking the heroic decision to return to his mission parish in the Central American nation despite knowing his name was on a death list there. Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda is the author of a biography about this American martyr, entitled, ‘The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run.’ She spoke to Susy Hodges about Father Stanley’s life, his mission and why it made such an impact on her. Listen to this interview by Maria Scaperlanda:  A U.S. Catholic writer and blogger, Scaperlanda was involved in collecting documentation for Father Stanley’s beatification cause.  She described how the priest grew up in a farming family and was used to being very “hands-on” when it came to tilling the land and fixing whatever was broken and he used those same skills to help the people in his mission parish in a remote area of Guatamala. “Heart wrenching” decision Asked about Father Stanley’s decision to return to his parish in Guatamala following a stay with his family in his native U.S. despite the death threats made against him Scaperlanda said it must have been “really really difficult ..... and heart wrenching” for him.  She likened it to Jesus’ mental torment in the Garden of Gethsamene shortly before his arrest and crucifixion. “The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run” Scaperlanda explained how the title for her book about Father Stanley “The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run” was taken from the priest’s words in a letter he wrote shortly before his return to Guatamala where he wrote that “a shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger.” “A great model for all Americans” By choosing “to stand with his people” Father Stanley is “a model of faithful discipleship,” she said. He was an “ordinary man” who did “an amazing thing” and as such “can teach us to live holy lives.” This first U.S.-born martyr is “a great model for all Americans,” she said.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: if you want mercy, know that you are sinners

The Vatican Today - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:33
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass on Thursday – the Feast of St. Matthew , Apostle and Evangelist – in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. In remarks following the Readings of the Day, which included St. Matthew’s own account of his conversion and calling into discipleship, the Holy Father focused on the three stages of the episode: calling, feasting, and scandal. Jesus had just healed a paralytic, when He met Matthew – a tax-collector, hence a figure despised by Jewish authorities and considered a traitor to his land and people – sitting at the customs desk. Jesus looked at him and said, “Follow me,” and Matthew got up and followed Him Recalling Caravaggio’s famous depiction of the scene, Pope Francis spoke of Matthew’s “sidelong look” with one eye on Our Savior and the other on his purse: a look that was even stand-offish, if not outright aggressive. Then, there was the merciful gaze of Jesus, which communicated such overwhelming love that the resistance of the man who wanted the money, “fails”: Matthew got up and followed Him. Click below to hear our report “It is the struggle between mercy and sin,” Pope Francis said Jesus’ love was able to enter into the heart of that man, Matthew, because he “knew he was a sinner,” he knew “he was not loved by anyone,” and was even despised. It was precisely “that sinful conscience, which opened the door to the mercy of Jesus.” So, “[Matthew] left everything” and went on a new journey with Our Lord. This is the encounter between the sinner and Jesus: “This is the first condition of salvation: feeling oneself in danger. It is the first condition of healing: feeling sick. Feeling sinful is the first condition of receiving this gaze of mercy. But let us think of the look of Jesus, so beautiful, so good, so merciful. And we, too, when we pray, we feel this look upon us; it is the look of love, the gaze of mercy, the gaze that saves us. Do not be afraid.” Matthew – like Zaccheus – feeling happy, invited Jesus to come home to eat. The second stage is indeed “the party” – one of festivity. Matthew invited friends, “those of the same trade,” sinners and publicans. The Pope said this recalls the words of Jesus in Chapter XV of Luke’s Gospel: “There will be more feasting in Heaven for a sinner who converts than for one hundred just men who will remain just.” This is the feast of the Father's meeting, the feast of mercy. Pope Francis said that Jesus is profligate with mercy, mercy for all. Then comes the third moment: that of scandal The Pharisees saw that publicans and sinners were at table with Jesus, and said to His disciples, “How is your Master eating with publicans and sinners?” Thus, Pope Francis noted, “Always a scandal begins with this phrase: ‘But how come?’” He went on to say, “When you hear this sentence, it smells,” and “scandal follows.” They were, in essence, scandalized by “the impurity of not following the law.” They knew “the Doctrine” very well, knew how to go “on the way of the Kingdom of God,” knew “better than anyone how things ought to have been done,” but “had forgotten the first commandment, of love.” Then, "”hey were locked in the cage of sacrifices,” perhaps thinking, “But let's make a sacrifice to God, let us do all we have to do, “so we are saved.” In summary, they believed that salvation came from themselves, they felt safe. “"No,” said Pope  Francis. “God saves us, saves us Jesus Christ”: “That ‘how come?’, which we’ve heard so many times from Catholics when they saw works of mercy. How come? Jesus is clear, He is very clear: ‘Go and learn.’ He sent them to learn, right? ‘Go and learn what mercy means. [That’s what] I want, and not sacrifices, for I did not come to call the righteous but the sinners.’ If you want to be called by Jesus, recognize yourself a sinner.” If you would receive mercy, recognize yourselves as sinners Francis exhorted us, therefore, to recognize ourselves as sinners, not guilty of “sin” in the abstract but guilty of “concrete sins”: so many “we all have committed them,” he said. “Let us look on Jesus with that merciful glance full of love,” he continued. While still dwelling on the scandal, he noted that there are so many: “There are so many, many – and always, even in the Church today. They say, ‘No, you cannot, it’s all clear, it’s all, no, no – those are sinners, we have to turn them away.’ Many saints have also been persecuted or suspected. We think of St. Joan of Arc, sent to the stake, because they thought she was a witch, and condemned her. A saint! Think of Saint Teresa, suspected of heresy, think of Bl. [Antonio] Rosmini. ‘Mercy I desire, and not sacrifices.’ And the door to meet Jesus is recognizing ourselves as we are: the truth [about orselves], [that we are] Sinners. And he comes, and we meet. It is very beautiful to meet Jesus.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: "Church will apply firmest measures against those who abuse minors"

The Vatican Today - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:14
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has reiterated his pledge to combat the evil of clerical sex abuse affirming that at all levels, the Church will continue to respond applying the firmest of measures to “all those who have betrayed their call and abused God's children. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : He was addressing members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors gathered for their Plenary Assembly. The Commission is an institution that was established by the Pope to propose initiatives that ensure that crimes that have occurred are no longer repeated in the Church.    In prepared remarks and after having listened to the greetings of Commission President, Cardinal O’Malley and other members of the Commission, Pope Francis said “I wish to share with you the profound pain I feel in my soul for the situation of abused children, as I have had occasion to do recently several times”.  Painful experience for the Church Describing the sex abuse scandal as a terrible evil for the whole of humanity, the Pope said it has also been a very painful experience for the Church: “We are ashamed of the abuses committed by holy ministers, who should be the most trustworthy”.  “Let me say quite clearly that sexual abuse is a horrible sin, completely opposite and in contradiction to what Christ and the Church teach us” he said.  Recalling the fact that he has had the privilege of listening to the stories that victims and survivors of abuses have wanted to share, Pope Francis observed that meetings such as these continue to nourish the personal commitment of all involved in the Commission to do everything possible to combat this evil and eliminate it.  The Church to respond at all levels with the firmest measures  “That is why, I reiterate today once again that the Church, at all levels, will respond with the application of the firmest measures against all those who have betrayed their call and abused the children of God” he said.  The Pope stressed that the disciplinary measures must apply to all those who work in the institutions of the Church, but he pointed out that “the primary responsibility lies with Bishops, priests and religious”: those who have received from the Lord the vocation to offer their lives to serving the Church and this includes “the vigilant protection of all vulnerable children, young people and adults”.  “For this reason, the Church irrevocably and at all levels seeks to apply the principle of "zero tolerance" against sexual abuse of minors” he said. The Pope recalled his Motu Proprio entitled “As a Loving Mother” that was promulgated on the basis of a proposal by the Commission and in reference to the principle of responsibility in the Church. He said it addresses the cases of Diocesan Bishops, Eparches and Superior Generals of religious institutes who, through negligence, have carried out or omitted acts that may have caused serious harm to others, whether individuals or a community as a whole (see Article 1). He said that over the last three years, since its establishment the Commission has consistently emphasized the most important principles guiding the Church's efforts to protect all vulnerable children and adults, thus fulfilling the mission entrusted to it as a "consultative function in the service of the Holy Father", offering its experience "in order to promote the responsibility of particular Churches in the protection of all minors and vulnerable adults" (Statute, Article 1). Pope Francis said he was delighted to learn that many particular Churches have adopted the Commission’s recommendation for a Day of Prayer, and for dialogue with victims and survivors of abuses, as well as with representatives of victim organizations.  “It is also encouraging to know how many Episcopal Conferences and Conferences of Superior Generals have sought your advice regarding the Guidelines for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults” he said.  Value of sharing best practices He emphasized the value of sharing best practices - especially for those Churches that have fewer resources for this crucial work of protection – and encouraged the Commission to continue its collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples “so that these practices may be inculturated in the different Churches around the world”. Lastly, Pope Francis praised the many initiatives that offer opportunities for learning, education and training promoted by the Commission as well as the fact that a presentation made last week to new bishops has been so favorably received. “These educational programs offer the kind of resources that will enable Dioceses, Religious Institutes and all Catholic institutions to adopt and implement the most effective materials for this work”. The Church: a place of piety and compassion  The Pope concluded his address highlighting the fact that the Church is called to be a place of piety and compassion, especially for those who have suffered.  “For all of us, the Catholic Church remains a field hospital that accompanies us on our spiritual journey. It is the place where we can sit with others, listen to them and share with them our struggles and our faith in the good news of Jesus Christ. I am fully confident that the Commission will continue to be a place where we can listen with interest to the voices of the victims and the survivors. Because we have much to learn from them and their personal stories of courage and perseverance” he said. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis receives Italian Antimafia Parliamentary Commission

The Vatican Today - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 07:40
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday met with the Italian Antimafia Parliamentary Commission  in the Vatican. In his prepared remarks to the group, the Holy Father began by recalling 3 high profile figures killed by the mafia, Magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were killed 25 years ago and Servant of God, Rosario Livatino, killed on September 21, 1990. Corruption The Pope, during his address underlined how “corruption always finds a way to justify itself, presenting itself as the "normal" condition, the solution for those who are "shrewd", the way to reach ones goals.” The Pope went on to say that, “it has a contagious and parasitic nature, because it does not nourish what good produces, but how it subtracts and robs.” Authentic Politics Authentic politics, said Pope Francis, “the one we recognize as an important form of charity, works instead to ensure a future of hope and to promote the dignity of each person. It is precisely because of this, he added, that it sees the struggle against mafias as a priority, since they steal the common good, taking away peoples hope and dignity. Fighting mafias, the Holy Father continued, means not only repressing them. “It also means reclaiming, transforming, building, and this entails two levels of commitment.” The first is the political one, through greater social justice, because mafias, he said,  put themselves forward as an alternative system in the area where rights and opportunities are lacking: work, home, education, and health care. Economic commitment The second level of commitment, said the Pope is the economic one, through the correction or removal of those mechanisms that generate inequality and poverty everywhere. This dual level, political and economic, noted Pope Francis, presupposes another no less essential element, that is the construction of a new civil consciousness, the only one that can lead to true liberation from mafias.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope prays for Mexican earthquake victims

The Vatican Today - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 06:27
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis at his weekly General Audience on Wednesday expressed his closeness to the people of Mexico after the country was hit Tuesday by a powerful earthquake . "Here among you (in St Peter’s Square), the Pope said, there are many Mexicans; the earthquake has caused casualties and material damage and in this moment of pain I express my closeness to the whole Mexican population ". He continued, “I ask Almighty God to welcome all those who lost their lives", and he also remembered the rescue workers involved in helping those affected. Finally, the Holy Father, invoked the Our Lady of Guadalupe, so dear to the Mexican nation.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Audience: Never lose hope, never lose heart

The Vatican Today - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 06:02
(Vatican Radio) “Wherever the Lord has planted you, stand firm in hope; never lose heart”. Those were Pope Francis’ words at his General Audience on Wednesday as he continued his reflections on Christian hope . This week the Holy Father focused his attention on teaching the virtue of hope, offering his guidance and encouragement especially to young people. Listen to our report: Don't give in to negativity He told those present in St Peter’s Square, “never to yield to the negativity that tears things and people down, but keep building, try to make this world conform ever more fully to God’s plan.” “ Never despair , he added, build on who you are; if you're on the ground, get up. If you're sitting, get up and go. If boredom paralyzes you, fill your life with good works.” The Pope continued by saying that, “God does not disappoint: if he has placed hope in our hearts, he does not want to frustrate it with continued frustration. Everything is born to bloom in an eternal spring.” Be peace builders Pope Francis invited Christians to use their “God-given gifts of mind and heart to help our human family to grow in freedom, justice and dignity.”  “Peace, the Pope said, is in the midst of men, do not listen to the voice of those who spread hate and divisions.” Jesus, the Holy Father underlined, “gave us a shining light in the darkness: defend it, protect it. Speaking to the pilgrims present,  Pope Francis encouraged them to dream , and concluding his catechesis, he said, “live, love and believe!  And with God’s grace, be beacons of hope to all around you.”   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope sets up new Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences

The Vatican Today - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 07:04
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has set up a new Pontifical institute for the study of marriage and the family, replacing the organisation set up by his predecessor in 1981. In a Motu Proprio, published on Tuesday, the Vatican announced that the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences is being established to carry forward the work of the two recent Synods of Bishops and the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia . New pastoral challenges Noting the important work that has been carried out by the original institute, founded in the wake of the 1980 Synod on the Family, Pope Francis says the Synods of 2014 and 2015 have brought a renewed awareness of “the new pastoral challenges to which the Christian community is called to respond”. Contemporary anthropological and cultural changes, the pope says, require “a diversified and analytical approach” which cannot be “limited to pastoral and missionary practices” of the past. Complex realities of family life Instead, he says, we must be able to interpret our faith in a context in which individuals are less supported than before as they deal with the complex realities of family life. Faithful to the teachings of Christ, the pope says, we must explore these “lights and shadows of family life” with realism, wisdom and love. Like its predecessor, the new institute will continue to work as part of the Pontifical Lateran University. It will also be closely connected to the Holy See through the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pontifical Academy for Life and the new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. The institute, which comes into effect immediately, will offer students courses leading to a diploma, a license and a doctorate in marriage and family sciences. Please find below the original Latin text of the new Motu Proprio LITTERAE APOSTOLICAE MOTU PROPRIO DATAE SUMMA FAMILIAE CURA Quibus Pontificium Institutum Theologicum pro Scientiis de Matrimonio et Familia Sancto Ioanni Paulo II dicatum constituitur FRANCISCUS           Summa familiae cura sanctus Ioannes Paulus II animatus, post Coetum Synodi Episcoporum anno MCMLXXX de familia celebratum necnon Adhortatione Apostolica Familiaris consortio anno MCMLXXXI exarata, Constitutione apostolica Magnum Matrimonii Sacramentum iuridicam formam tribuit Pontificio Instituto Studiorum Matrimonii ac Familiae, apud Pontificiam Universitatem Lateranensem operanti. Ab illo tempore Institutum proficuum opus pervestigationis theologicae et formationis pastoralis tum in Sede praecipua Romae explevit tum in sedibus extra Urbem, adstantibus in omnibus continentibus.           Recentius Ecclesia ulterius iter synodale effecit, in medium considerationis iterum matrimonium et familiam ponens, primum quidem in Coetu extraordinario Synodi Episcoporum anno MMXIV acto de “Provocationibus pastoralibus familiae in contextu evangelizationis”, et deinde in illo ordinario anno MMXV habito de “Vocatione et missione familiae in Ecclesia et in mundo”. Fructum istius intensi itineris constituit Adhortatio apostolica post-synodalis Amoris laetitia, die XIX mensis Martii anno MMXVI publici iuris facta.           Hoc tempus synodale Ecclesiam adduxit ad renovatam Evangelii familiae conscientiam novarumque pastoralium provocationum quibus oportet christiana communitas respondeat. Praecipuum familiae locum in itineribus “conversionis pastoralis”[1] nostrarum communitatum nec non “commutationis missionalis Ecclesiae”[2] postulat ut – etiam in provincia formationis academicae – in consideratione de matrimonio familiaque numquam desint prospectus pastorales et sollicitudo de vulneribus humani generis. Si fructuosum altum studium theologiae pastoralis agi non potest neglecto peculiari aspectu ecclesiali familiae,[3] altera ex parte ipse sensus pastoralis Ecclesiae non parum curat pretiosum tributum cogitationis et investigationis quae perscrutantur admodum alte et accurate revelationis veritatem et  traditionis fidei sapientiam, ut aptius aetate nostra intellegantur. “Decretorium eventuro pro mundo Ecclesiaque est familiae bonum. […]  Salubre est certis rebus vacare, quandoquidem postulationes impulsionesque Spiritus in eventibus historiae animadvertuntur per quos Ecclesia altius perspicere valet inexhaustum mysterium matrimonii ac familiae”.[4]           Mutatio anthropologica et culturalis, quae hodie omnes vitae provincias movet atque interpretationem postulat analyticam et multiplicem, nobis non consentit coërcere nos tantummodo operibus navitatis pastoralis et missionis quae formas et exempla temporis praeteriti referunt. Oportet interpretes simus conscii et ardentes  fidei sapientiae in rerum adiunctis in quibus singulae personae structuris socialibus minus quam praeterito tempore sustentantur, earum in affectuum et familiari vita. In claro proposito fidelitatis erga doctrinam Christi oportet igitur inspiciamus hodie familiam, cum intellectu amoris et cum sapienti rerum veritate, tota in eius varietate, in eius lucibus et umbris.[5] Has ob rationes opportunum cogitavimus novam iuridicam rationem Instituto Ioannis Pauli II tribuere, ut “praevidens intuitio sancti Ioannis Pauli II, quae firmiter hanc academicam voluit institutionem, hodie adhuc melius agnosci et aestimari [possit] sua in fecunditate et actualitate”.[6] Deliberavimus igitur Pontificium Institutum Theologicum pro Scientiis de Matrimonio et Familia instituere, augentes eius rationem inquisitionis, tum quod pertinet ad novas provincias navitatis pastoralis et missionis ecclesialis, tum quod pertinet ad progressiones scientiarum humanarum et culturae anthropologicae in provincia tam praecipua pro vitae cultura. Art. 1         His Litteris Apostolicis motu proprio datis instituimus Pontificium Institutum Theologicum pro Scientiis de Matrimonio et Familia sancto Ioanni Paulo II dicatum, quod, cum Pontificia Universitate Lateranensi coniunctum, in locum subvenit Pontificii Instituti Ioannis Pauli II Studiorum Matrimonii ac Familiae, conditi per Constitutionem Apostolicam Magnum Matrimonii Sacramentum, quod idcirco exstinguitur. Attamen necesse est ut primigenia inspiratio, quae exstinctum Pontificium Institutum Studiorum Matrimonii ac Familiae genuerat, novi Instituti Theologici operis ampliorem campum usque fecundet, efficaciter contribuens quo Ecclesiae pastoralis missionis hodiernis necessitatibus plene respondeat. Art. 2         Novum Institutum Theologicum, inter institutiones pontificias, ad servitium missionis Ecclesiae universalis, erit centrum academicum ad quod est referendum in provincia scientiarum quae pertinent ad matrimonium et familiam necnon quoad argumenta coniuncta cum fundamentali foedere viri et mulieris pro generationis et creati cura. Art. 3         Peculiaris nexus novi Instituti Theologici cum ministerio et magisterio Sanctae Sedis deinde firmabitur peculiari relatione, quam illud statuet, in modis qui vicissim concordabuntur, cum Congregatione de Institutione Catholica, cum Dicasterio pro Laicis, Familia et Vita atque cum Pontificia Academia pro Vita. Art. 4         § 1. Pontificium Institutum Theologicum, ita renovatum, aptabit suas structuras instrumentaque necessaria disponet – cathedras, docentes, rationes, ministros administrationis – ad perficiendam missionem scientificam et ecclesialem sibi assignatam.         § 2. Auctoritates academicae Instituti Theologici sunt Magnus Cancellarius, Praeses et Consilium Instituti.         § 3. Institutum Theologicum pollet facultate conferendi iure proprio suis studentibus sequentes gradus: Doctoratum in Scientiis de Matrimonio et Familia; Licentiam in Scientiis de Matrimonio et Familia; Diploma in Scientiis de Matrimonio et Familia. Art. 5         Quae praesentis Litteris sunt statuta, pressius explicabuntur et definientur propriis Statutis, a Sancta Sede approbatis. Praesertim providebitur ut aptiores modi inveniantur qui cooperationi et comparationi faveant, in provincia didacticae et inquisitionis, inter auctoritates Instituti Theologici atque Pontificiae Universitatis Lateranensis. Art. 6         Donec nova Statuta approbentur, Institutum Theologicum pro tempore regetur normis hucusque vigentibus Statutorum Pontificii Instituti Ioannis Pauli II Studiorum  Matrimonii et Familiae, inclusis ibi structuratione in Sectiones et normis ad eandem pertinentibus, dummodo praesentibus Litteris non obsistant.           Omnia quae his Litteris Apostolicis motu proprio datis consideravimus, iubemus ut cunctis suis in partibus observentur, contrariis rebus quibuslibet non obstantibus, etiamsi peculiari mentione dignis, atque statuimus ut promulgentur per publicationem in actis diurnis L’Osservatore Romano, die ipso promulgationis in vigorem intrando, proindeque Actis Apostolicae Sedis inserantur.  Datum Romae, apud Sanctum Petrum, die VIII mensis Septembris, in Festo Nativitatis Beatae Mariae Virginis, anno Domini MMXVII, Pontificatus Nostri quinto.                                          FRANCISCUS PP.  [1] Cfr Adhort. ap. Evangelii gaudium, 26-32. [2] Cfr ibid., cap. I. [3] Cfr Conc. Oecum. Vat. II, Const. dogm. Lumen gentium, 11. [4] Adhort. ap. post-synodalis Amoris laetitia, 31; cfr Ioannes Paulus II, Adhort. ap. post-synodalis Familiaris consortio, 4. [5] Cfr Adhort. ap. post-synodalis Amoris laetitia, 32. [6] Sermo ad communitatem academicam Pontificii Instituti  Studiorum Matrimonii et Familiae (27  Octobris 2016): L’Osservatore Romano, 28 Octobris 2016, p. 8. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Catholic News

Pope at Mass: ‘Pray for leaders despite their mistakes’

The Vatican Today - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:44
(Vatican Radio) As Christians we must pray for our elected leaders, even if we don’t agree with their politics. That was Pope Francis’ message during Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Monday, as he reflected on the readings for the day. Listen to Devin Watkins' report: Pope Francis took as his starting point the First Reading from St Paul’s Letter to Timothy, where he asks that “supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings” be offered “for kings and for all in authority”. In the day’s Gospel, a Roman leader, the centurion, prays that his servant be healed. Recognize one’s subordinate position “This man felt the need to pray,” the Pope noted, because “he was aware that he did not have everything under his control”. He knew that above him was another who was really in charge. The centurion had soldiers as subordinates but he was also aware of being a subordinate. This awareness led him to pray. “If leaders do not pray, they close themselves off in a self-referential circle or in that of their party, a circle from which they cannot escape”, said Pope Francis. It is important to be aware that we are all subordinate to someone more powerful. And those who are more powerful than political leaders, he suggested, are both the people who gave those leaders their power, “and God from whom their power comes through the people”. Political leaders pray, said the Pope, when they are aware of being a subordinate. Leaders must pray Pope Francis went on to talk about the importance of prayer for a leader. “It is the prayer for the common good of the people with whom they have been entrusted.” He then recalled a conversation with a political leader who spent two hours before God every day, despite being tremendously busy. A leader must ask God, said the Pope, for the grace to govern well like Solomon, who asked not for riches and gold but for the wisdom to govern. The Holy Father said political leaders must ask the Lord for the same wisdom. “It is very important for leaders to pray, asking the Lord not to take away the awareness of being subordinate and not to find strength in a little group or in myself.” To those who would object on grounds of agnosticism or atheism, Pope Francis said: “If you cannot pray, confront yourself with your conscience, with the wisdom of your people, but do not remain isolated with the small group of your political party.” This is what leads to becoming self-referential. Prayer for leaders In the First Reading, St Paul invites us to pray for kings, “so that we can live a calm and peaceful life,” the Pope said. He pointed out that when political leaders do something we don’t approve of, they are either criticized or praised, but often we simply claim we didn’t vote for them and pretend we don’t really care what they do. But Pope Francis said we must not leave abandon our leaders. “We need to accompany them with our prayer”, he said. “Christians must pray for their leaders”, even if they do “bad things”. In this case, the Pope continued, they need prayer even more: “Pray, and do penance for leaders. Intercessory prayer is such a wonderful thing, as Paul says. It is to be done for all kings, for all persons in positions of power. Why? ‘So that we can live a calm and peaceful life.’ When a leader is free and can govern in peace, the whole population benefits.” Examination of conscience Pope Francis concluded by asking those present to make an examination of conscience regarding their prayer for leaders. “I ask you this favor: every one of you take five minutes, no more. If you are a leader, ask yourself: ‘Do I pray to the One who gave me power through the people?’ If you are not a leader, ‘Do I pray for my leaders? Yes, for this one and that one, yes, because I like them; but for that one, no.’ They need it so much more for this reason! ‘Do I pray for all leaders?’ And if you find in your examination of conscience before Confession that you have not prayed for your leaders, bring it to Confession. Because not to pray for leaders is a sin.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Catholic News

Pope urges Japanese Bishops to build on the memory of their martyrs

The Vatican Today - Sun, 09/17/2017 - 10:47
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged Christians in Japan to face current challenges bearing in mind the witness of their many martyrs. In a letter addressed to the Bishops of Japan , on the occasion of Cardinal Fernando Filoni’s pastoral journey to the Land of the Rising Sun, the Pope held up the memory of Japan’s many martyrs and ‘hidden Christians’ whom, he said, from the 17th to the mid-19th centuries lived clandestinely so as not to have to repudiate their faith. Cardinal Filoni, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has undertaken a pastoral journey to Japan lasting from 17 to 26 September.  Japanese Christians facing current challenges In the letter, the Pope pointed out that Japanese Christians are facing “the challenges that current times pose” and he invited them not to be “resigned”, nor to resort to “an irenic or paralyzing dialogue even although there are problematic situations that raise not few concerns.”    Amongst the situations that arouse concern the Pope mentioned the “high rate of divorce” in Japan, “the number of suicides, even among young people”, the phenomenon of the ‘hikikomori’ – people who choose to live completely disconnected from society, “religious and spiritual formalism, moral relativism, indifference towards religion, an obsession for work and earning”.      It is also true, the Pope continued, that a society that is a frontrunner in economic development leaves many behind: the poor, the marginalized, the excluded – not only those who are excluded in a material sense, but also those who are spiritually and morally in need. Need for constant renewal in the Church Within this particular context, Francis pointed out that it is necessary and urgent that the Church in Japan be constantly renewed, always bearing in mind “Jesus’ mission which is salt and light”. The Pope concluded pointing out that the true evangelical force of the Japanese Church stems from the fact that it has been a Church of martyrs and confessors of the faith, and this “is a great asset to be safe-guarded and developed.”      (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Catholic News

Pope at Angelus: ‘open your hearts to forgiveness'

The Vatican Today - Sun, 09/17/2017 - 08:59
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged all Christians to open their hearts to forgiveness. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus , the Pope said that to be able to build peace one must be able to forgive. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : “Forgiveness does not deny the injustice one has been subjected to, but it acknowledges the fact that the human being, created in the image of God, is always superior to the wrong that is committed” he said. The Pope was reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day which narrates the “Parable of the unforgiving servant.” Commenting on Jesus’ invitation to forgive “not seven times, but seventy-seven times,” Francis said this means that Christians are called always to show forgiveness. God wants to forgive us “From the day of our Baptism, he said, God has forgiven us, remitting a terrible debt: the original sin. And then, with infinite mercy, he forgives all of our sins as soon as we show the smallest sign of repentance.” Anyone – the Pope continued – who has experienced the joy of peace and interior freedom that comes from having been forgiven, can open himself to the possibility of forgiving. And he pointed out that this teaching is also contained in “The Lord’s Prayer” which says:  ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ God’s infinite love for us God’s forgiveness, Francis said, is a sign of “His overflowing love for each of us”:  that love that gives us the freedom to stray – like the prodigal son – but that every day awaits our return with open arms; it is the love of the shepherd who goes in search of the lost sheep; it is the tenderness with which each sinner is welcomed when he knocks at His door. “The Lord is full of love and He wants to offer it to us, but he cannot do so if we close our hearts to loving others” he said.   A special greeting for participants in a ‘Run for Peace’ Following the Angelus prayer Pope Francis had special greetings for participants of a just-ended “Run for Peace” with an itinerary that touched symbolic venues for the different religious confessions present in Rome. “My hope is that this initiative of culture and sport may favour dialogue, cohabitation and peace” he concluded.       (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Catholic News

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