Browsing News Entries

Pope promises to send special message to FAO meeting in Ethiopia

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis marked World Food Day this week with a visit to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) where he called on world leaders and policymakers to work for a concrete, practical consensus to prevent the most tragic effects of climate change hitting the weakest and most defenseless.

“We need to change our lifestyles, the use of resources, production and consumption patterns,” the Pope said, and he decried what he described as the “negligence” that is damaging the “delicate balances of the ecosystems” and the “arrogance of manipulating and controlling” the planet.

Hosting the Pope at FAO’s Headquarters in Rome was FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, who immediately afterwards spoke to Vatican Radio:

Listen

Da Silva points out that the Vatican has Permanent Observer Status at FAO but most important, he says, as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church he represents values that FAO shares: solidarity, dignity, and hope in a better world.

“We share those values in FAO and Pope Francis is a continuing inspiration for us, and not only through ‘Laudato Sì’ where he approaches the issue of climate change – a very important common global value” he says.

He says that Pope Francis is one of those rare people who have dedicated their entire lives to promoting important values: “these people are indispensable”.

“I think that Pope Francis is one of those people who have worked hard all of their lives and that he is one of the few indispensable people in the world today” he says.

Before addressing his audience at FAO, da Silva says he had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis personally about some of the programmes his organization shares with the Vatican.

“We discussed particularly the need to concentrate our efforts in Africa and to stop the conflicts, and also to deal with the impact of climate change” he says.

Da Silva also revealed that Pope Francis promised to send a special message for the meeting that FAO is organizing during the African Union Summit that FAO is organizing next January 2018 in Addis Ababa.      

 

(from Vatican Radio)

World Methodist Council: dialogue must reach local level

(Vatican Radio) Methodist and Catholic theologians are meeting just outside Rome this week, marking the 50th anniversary of the first ecumenical dialogue group following the Second Vatican Council. That first session of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission was held in the hill town of Ariccia in October 1967.

Pope Francis met with members of the current Commission on Thursday, together with leaders of the World Methodist Council, saying that half a century of dialogue has set us free from estrangement and suspicion and helped us to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

South African Bishop Ivan Abrahams is General Secretary of the World Methodist Council. He talked to Philippa Hitchen about the concrete fruits of this ecumenical journey….

Listen:

He says two of the key ingredients that have marked this “50 year pilgrimage or journey” are the love and trust that has been built up and that are reflected in the seven joint reports that have been produced thus far.

One of the great challenges, he says, is to let the fruits of this dialogue “percolate to the local level and we need to see how we can do that much more effectively”.

'That they may be one'

He notes that the latest dialogue report entitled ‘A Call to Holiness: from glory to glory’ stresses that working for unity is “a fundamental part of our mission and our witness to the world, to see that Jesus’ high priestly prayer is made reality”.

Speaking about the situation in his native South Africa, Abrahams says that as he saw the demise of apartheid in his lifetime, “I’d hoped to see the reality of “that they may be one” in my lifetime”.

Autonomy in mission and witness

Talking about the Methodist model of governance, he says there’s no compromise on key issues of faith, but “we don’t apply the ‘one size fits all’ model”, leaving the various conferences autonomy to make their own decisions about mission and witness.

Asked about Pope Francis’ efforts to give local Catholic bishops’ conferences with more autonomy over pastoral decision making, Abrahams says “I think that it is really the only way to go, if we speak about the integrity of the Gospel, because every cultural context is uniquely different”.

Pope Francis embodies unity

While practical cooperation on issues like migration, refugees or climate change are important, he says, consensus in the theological dialogue remains crucial because “we need to clarify so we can walk together”.

Finally Bishop Abrahams praises Pope Francis’ way of reaching out to young generations, saying he is “a beacon of hope” and “somebody who embodies the unity that we’re seeking to live”.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope meets students, staff of “Institution des Chartreux”‎

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday urged students of a French Catholic School to watch out against the lure and slavery of money, and train themselves to be promoters and defenders of equality and justice in the world. 

Some 80 students and staff of Institution des Chartreux of Lyons, in Rome as part of their semester, met the Pope in the Vatican.  Known commonly as Les Chartreux, the private school is managed by the Carthusians. 

Lure and slavery of money

The Pope expressed satisfaction that while they were preparing themselves to enter the big commercial schools to pursue professional careers in the world of finance, their current academic formation at Les Chartreux was providing them a strong human, philosophical and cultural dimension.  “It is essential,” he said, “that from now on and in your future professional life you learn to be free from the ‘lure of money’, from the slavery into which money shuts those who worship it.”    He said it is also important that they have the “strength and courage not to blindly obey the invisible hand of the market.”  “Hence,” he said, “I encourage you to make the best of your study time to train yourselves to become promoters and defenders of growth in equity, and artisans of an upright and adequate administration of our common home, the world.” 

Just and humane world

Pope Francis further exhorted them to become responsible for this world and for the life of every man, never forgetting that “every injustice against a poor person is an open wound and belittles your very dignity.”    He told the students to find the means and the time to take on the path of brotherhood to create bridges rather than walls among men in order to add their stone to building a more just and humane society.   He concluded encouraging them to work for good and be a humble seed of a new world.  

(from Vatican Radio)

Vatican hosts conference on Disability and Catechesis

(Vatican Radio) A global conference will open in Rome on Friday looking at best practices to help people with disabilities fully engage in the life of the Church.

The event entitled "Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church", is being sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization and partnered by The Kairos Forum, a UK based organization that focuses on the spiritual and religious needs of people with disabilities.

Over the course of the three day gathering 450 experts from around the world will share their insights.

Lydia O’Kane spoke to Monsignor Geno Sylva, English language official at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, about the goals of the conference.

Listen to the interview:

 

Speaking about how the conference came about, Mons Sylva said, “this international conference is the fruit that was sewn during the Jubilee (of Mercy) with all the other discussions that took place afterwards.”

He underlined that, “the aim and the goal is for us as a Church and for this Pontifical Council to really learn what are the best practices that are already taking place throughout the world in catechizing people with special needs …”

The Church and Disability

But, Mons. Sylva also added that, what this conference is also meant to do is to “highlight the responsibility that we have as a Church to take into account the special needs for each of the baptized, so that we can present to him or her the catechism, the catechesis of our Church in a way that they can receive it; they can grasp the elements of it .”

The global conference, "Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church", will run from the 20th to the 22nd of October at the Urbaniana University in Rome.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis marks 50 years of Methodist-Catholic dialogue

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with leaders of the World Methodist Council on Thursday, celebrating fifty years of dialogue between the two Churches.

Noting that in the Old Testament, a golden jubilee was a moment to set slaves free, the pope said “we too have been freed from the slavery of estrangement and mutual suspicion”.

Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report: 

After fifty years of patient dialogue, he said, “we are no longer strangers” but rather, through our shared Baptism, “members of the  household of God”.

True dialogue, the pope continued, gives us courage to encounter one another in humility and sincerity” as we seek to learn from each other.

Wesley's example of holiness

Speaking about the 18th century preacher John Wesley, who, with his brother Charles founded the Methodist movement, Pope Francis said his words and his example of holiness brought many people to Christ. When we recognize the working of the Holy Spirit in other Christian confessions, he said, “we cannot fail to rejoice”, as they can “also help us grow closer to the Lord”.

Serving the poor together

The pope also noted how our faith becomes tangible when it takes the concrete form of love and service to the poor and marginalized. As Methodists and Catholics together, when we assist those who are alienated or in need, he said, we are responding to the Lord’s summons.

Become ministers of reconciliation

We cannot grow in holiness without growing in communion, Pope Francis concluded. As you begin a new phase of dialogue devoted to reconciliation, may your discussions be a gift for Christians everywhere to become ministers of reconciliation. Let us prepare ourselves with humble hope and concrete efforts, he said, for that full recognition which will enable us to join one another in the breaking of bread together.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Mass: The gift of God's salvation opens the door to all

The Lord gives us the memory of  God's salvation which is “a gift” and close to the concreteness of the works of mercy he wants us to do, whether they are "material or spiritual": so we will become people who help to "open the door" to ourselves and others. That was Pope Francis’ prayer at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. Recalling the passage from Luke's Gospel in which the Scribes and Pharisees considered themselves righteous, and Jesus makes known to them that God alone is just, the Pope explained why law practitioners had "taken knowledge away" with "the consequence of not being able to enter the Kingdom nor let others enter either".

Listen to our report:

"This leads us to understand the revelation of God, to understand God's heart, to understand God's salvation - the key to knowledge - we can say it is very neglected. One forgets the freedom of salvation; forgetting the closeness of God and forgetting God's mercy. And those who forget the gift of salvation, the closeness of God, and the mercy of God, have taken away the key to knowledge. "

Therefore, this gift was "forgotten". It is "God's initiative to save us and instead stand on the side of the law": Salvation - said the Pope - "is there for them", thus arriving in "a bunch of prescriptions" which in fact become salvation. So, "they do not receive the power of God's righteousness." The law, however, is always "an answer to God's generous love", which has taken "the initiative" to save us. And, continued Pope Francis, "when you forget the gift of salvation you fall, you lose the key to the intelligence of the history of salvation", losing "the sense of God's closeness":

"For them, God is the one who has made the law. But this is not the God of revelation. The God of revelation is a God who has begun to walk with us from Abraham to Jesus Christ, God walking with His people. And when you lose this close relationship with the Lord, you fall into this dull mindset that believes in the self-sufficiency of salvation with the fulfillment of the law. The closeness of God ".

When the closeness of God is lacking, when prayer is lacking, the Pope emphasized "doctrine cannot be taught" and not even by "studying theology", much less "moral theology": The Pope reiterated that theology "kneels down, always close to God ". And the closeness of the Lord comes "to the highest point of the crucified Jesus Christ," being "justified" for the blood of Christ, as Saint Paul said. For this reason, the Pontiff explained, the works of mercy "are the stone of the fulfillment of the law," because they touch the flesh of Christ, "touch Christ’s suffering in a person, both corporally and spiritually." Also, when the key to knowledge is lost, one also becomes "corrupt". The Pope finally noted the "responsibilities" of shepherds, now in the Church commenting that  when they lose or take away the "key of intelligence", they close  "the door on themselves and on others":

In my country, said the Pope,  "I have heard several times of parish priests who did not baptize the children of the mothers because they were not born in  canonical marriage. They closed the door, why? Because the heart of these parish priests had lost the key to knowledge.

Three months ago, in a country, in a city, a mother wanted to baptize her newly born son, but she was married civilly with a divorced man. The priest said, 'Yes, yes. Baptize the baby. But your husband is divorced. So he cannot be present at the ceremony. ' This is happening today. The Pharisees, doctors of the law are not people of the past, even today there are many of them. That is why we need prayers for us shepherds. To pray that we do not lose the key to knowledge and do not close the door to ourselves and the people who want to enter. "

(from Vatican Radio)

Isn’t that a Sin? Love and Responsibility Series (Post #20)

In this section of Love and Responsibility, Wojtyla analyzes what concupiscence is and what it’s not. It’s not a sin, but it is a challenge to the growth of mature love between a man and a woman. “Concupiscence is a consistent tendency to see persons of the other sex through the prism of sexuality alone, […]

The post Isn’t that a Sin? Love and Responsibility Series (Post #20) appeared first on Marriage Unique for a Reason.

To a Delegation of the World Methodist Council (19 October 2017)

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO A DELEGATION OF THE WORLD METHODIST COUNCIL

Consistory Hall
Thursday, 19 October 2017

[Multimedia]



 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I thank Bishop Abrahams for his kind words and I offer all of you a warm welcome on this fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Methodist-Catholic theological dialogue.

In the Book of Leviticus, the Lord proclaims the fiftieth year as a special year that calls, among other things, for the setting free of slaves: “You shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” (Lev25:10).  We are grateful to God because we can say that, in certain sense, we too have been freed from the slavery of estrangement and mutual suspicion.  The Lord also told Moses that in the fiftieth year “every one shall return to his property and… to his family” (ibid.).  As a result of these fifty years of patient, fraternal dialogue, we can truly say to one another in the words of the Apostle Paul: “you are no longer strangers” (cf. Eph 2:19).  Yes, we are no longer strangers, either in our hearts or in our belonging to the Lord, thanks to the one Baptism that has made us true brothers and sisters.  We are, and we feel ourselves to be, “members of the household of God” (ibid.). 

We have come to this realization as the result of dialogue.  The Second Vatican Council continues to encourage the growth of knowledge and esteem between Christians of differing confessions by means of a dialogue carried out “with love for the truth, with charity, and with humility” (Unitatis Redintegratio, 11).  True dialogue gives us the courage to encounter one another in humility and sincerity, in an effort to learn from one another, and in a spirit of honesty and integrity.  We are brothers and sisters who, following a long separation, are happy once more to see and learn about one another, and to move forward with open hearts.  So let us advance together, knowing that our journey is blessed by the Lord.  It began from him, and it leads to him.

“You shall hallow the fiftieth year”, God said to Moses.  The latest document of the Commission spoke precisely about holiness.  John Wesley sought to help his neighbours live a holy life.  His example and his words encouraged many to devote themselves to reading the Bible and to prayer, and in this way to come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.  When we see others living a holy life, when we recognize the working of the Holy Spirit in other Christian confessions, we cannot fail to rejoice.  It is impressive to see how widely the Lord sows his gifts; it is impressive to see brothers and sisters who embrace in Jesus our own way of life.  But other “members of God’s household” can also help us grow closer to the Lord and spur us to bear more faithful witness to the Gospel.  Let us thank the Father, then, for all that he granted us, even before the last fifty years, in bygone centuries and throughout the world, in our respective communities.  Let us strengthen one another by our witness to the faith.

Faith becomes tangible above all when it takes concrete form in love, particularly in service to the poor and the marginalized.  “You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants”: after fifty years of our dialogue, this ancient summons of the word of God remains ever timely.  As a call to life in communion with God, the call to holiness is necessarily a call to communion with others too.  When, as Catholics and Methodists, we join in assisting and comforting the weak and the marginalized – those who in the midst of our societies feel distant, foreign and alienated – we are responding to the Lord’s summons.

As we look to the future, beyond the past fifty years, one thing is certain: we cannot grow in holiness without growing in communion.  This is the journey that awaits us in the new phase of the dialogue, devoted to reconciliation.  We cannot speak of prayer and charity unless together we pray and work for reconciliation and full communion.  May your discussions about reconciliation be a gift, and not only for our communities but for the world.  May they be an incentive to Christians everywhere to be ministers of reconciliation.  The Spirit of God brings about the miracle of reconciled unity.  He does so in his own way, even as he did at Pentecost, awakening a variety of charisms and ordering everything in a unity that is not uniformity but a communion.  We need, then, to remain together, like the disciples awaiting the Spirit, and as brothers and sisters on a shared journey.

I thank you for your presence.  I am grateful to the Dialogue Commission for its work, past and yet to come, and I thank the World Methodist Council for its ongoing support for the dialogue.  The blessing of the past fifty years resides in the grace we have discovered in one another, which has enriched both our communities.  But the task is not yet ended, and we are called to look ahead as we continue our journey.  We have learned to see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ; now is the time to prepare ourselves, with humble hope and concrete efforts, for that full recognition that will come about, by God’s grace, when at last we will be able to join one another in the breaking of the bread.  I would ask you to pray for this, as together we ask the Father for the daily bread that can sustain us along the way: Our Father…

 

General Audience of 18 October 2017

POPE FRANCIS

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

[Multimedia]


 

Speaker:                                        

Dear Brothers and Sisters: this morning I wish to reflect on Christian hope and the reality of death, a reality which our modern world so often leaves us unprepared to face.  Past civilizations had the courage to face death, and older generations taught the younger to see that inescapable event as a call to live for something enduring, greater than themselves.  For our days, no matter how many they are, pass like a breath.  It is Jesus, however, that ultimately helps us to confront this mystery.  He shows us that it is natural to mourn the loss of a loved one.  For he too wept at Lazarus’ death.  But he did not only mourn; he also prayed to the Father and called Lazarus from the tomb.  Here is our Christian hope: Jesus has come to heal us, to save us from death. He says: “I am the resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25); if we believe in him, even if we die, we will live.  In the face of our sorrow, Jesus invites us to faith in him.  This is our hope: when we mourn, we know that Christ remains always close to us.  And one day, when we too face death, we will hear Jesus’s voice: “I say to you, arise” (Mk 5:41).  

Holy Father:

Saluto i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’Udienza odierna, specialmente quelli provenienti da Inghilterra, Scozia, Malta, Paesi Bassi, Norvegia, Svezia, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Cina, Ghana, Lesotho, Filippine e Stati Uniti d’America. Gesù Cristo rafforzi nella fede voi e le vostre famiglie e vi faccia testimoni di speranza in questo mondo, specialmente a quanti vivono nel dolore. Dio vi benedica tutti!

Speaker:

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China, Ghana, Lesotho, the Philippines, and the United States of America.  May Jesus Christ strengthen you and your families in faith and make you witnesses of hope to the world, especially to those who mourn.  May God bless you all!

 

To a Delegation from “Religions for Peace” (18 October 2017)

GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER
TO A DELEGATION FROM  "RELIGIONS FOR PEACE"

Room adjacent to Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 18 October 2017

[Multimedia]


 

Dear Friends,

I offer you a warm welcome and I am grateful for your visit.  I thank Cardinal Tauran for his kind presentation.

Peace remains an urgent task in today’s world, where so many peoples are scarred by war and conflict.  Peace is both a divine gift and a human achievement.  This is why believers of all religions are called to implore peace and to intercede for it.  All men and women of good will, particularly those in positions of responsibility, are summoned to work for peace with their hearts, minds and hands.  For peace has to be “crafted”.  In this effort, peacemaking and the pursuit of justice go together.

The religions, with their spiritual and moral resources, have a specific and unique role to play in building peace.  They cannot be neutral, much less ambiguous, where peace is concerned.

Those who engage in acts of violence, or try to justify them in the name of religion, gravely offend God, who is peace and the source of peace, and has left in human beings a reflection of his wisdom, power and beauty.

I express my esteem and appreciation for the work of “Religions for Peace”.  You provide a valuable service to both religion and peace, for the religions are bound by their very nature to promote peace through justice, fraternity, disarmament and care for creation.

There is a need for a common and cooperative effort on the part of the religions in promoting an integral ecology.  The Bible helps us in this regard by reminding us of the Creator, who “saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen 1:31).  The religions have the wherewithal to further a moral covenant that can promote respect for the dignity of the human person and care for creation.

Thanks be to God, in various parts of the world we have any number of good examples of the power of interreligious cooperation to oppose violent conflicts, to advance sustainable development and to protect the earth.  Let us continue along this path!  We trust in the Almighty’s help and in the good will of believers and so many others.

May God bless you and make your commitment to peace bear rich fruit!