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Pope Francis to lead Prayer for Peace in South Sudan and DRC

Jum, 17/11/2017 - 00:07
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is to preside over a Prayer for Peace in South Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 23rd in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5.30pm Rome time. “ Solidarity with South Sudan ” in association with the Justice and Peace office of religious organizations worldwide, has organized the Prayer and confirmed that when Pope Francis heard of the initiative he made it known that he wanted to be personally involved.  Christians across the world are invited to pray together on that day and time for Peace in the world, and above all in South Sudan and in DRC, two conflict ravaged nations in which millions of displaced people are suffering the effects of terrible humanitarian crises. Sr. Yudith Pereira Ric o, the Associate Executive Director of Solidarity in Rome, told journalists that the main thing people ask her to do when she travels to South Sudan, is to tell the world what is happening in their country. The world’s newest country spiraled into civil war in late 2013, two years after gaining independence from Sudan, causing one fourth of the 15 million-strong population to flee their homes. Sister Yudith described the continuing violence and abuse taking place in South Sudan as “Silent Genocide”. She told Linda Bordoni what it means for the suffering people of South Sudan to know that the Pope and Christians across the world are praying for them: Listen : Sister Yudith said that for them, to know that people outside of South Sudan, in Rome, and in other places are praying for them, is to know that “we have the world with us”. “For them it a source of strength and hope for the future to feel that they are not alone, and this is important because otherwise where can they find the courage to resist what they are enduring now as refugees, victims…” she said. And highlighting the many abuses the most vulnerable people are enduring including the use of rape as a weapon of war, Sr Yudith said “to know that people are talking about this means that they too, as human beings count”. “They feel they don’t count for anybody: for politicians they don’t count, they don’t exist – they are only fighting for power and for money.” She says most people don’t even know where South Sudan is or the fact that it is the newt country. To acknowledge and to pray for them, she said, is to give them dignity and saying “we are with you”. She said that notwithstanding the terrible events that caused the new nation to disintegrate into conflict the people still want to be one. She explained that they came from 20 years of war, they did not have a national identity, and while the warmongers are vying for power and control the new generations, the women and all ordinary people are convinced they can all live together peacefully. Sr Yudith also spoke of Pope Francis’ interest in the nation and of how it has positively impacted the desire to set in motion some kind of peace process. “He is waiting for them to begin something so he can come and lend his support, but they have to begin…” she said.         (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis makes surprise visit field hospital in St. Peter's Square

Kam, 16/11/2017 - 23:44
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis made a surprise visit on Thursday afternoon to a small "field hospital" set up in front of St. Peter's Square to provide medical care for Rome's poor. During the short visit, the Pope greeted volunteers and poor people waiting to receive care ahead of the first World Day of the Poor, taking place on Sunday, November 19. He was accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation. The healthcare structure is an initiative connected to that Day and announced by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation . Pope Francis called for the celebration of the World Day of the Poor at the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope meets with members of Apostolic Confederation for the Clergy

Kam, 16/11/2017 - 23:20
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held an audience with international members of the Apostolic Confederation for the Clergy in the Vatican on Thursday. He invited participants to reflect on the ordained ministry, "in, for and with the diocesan community".  The Pope said, "One becomes an expert in spirituality of communion primarily thanks to conversion to Christ, to the docile opening to the action of the Spirit, and by welcoming one’s brothers." The following is the Pope’s address to those present: Dear priests, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133,1). These verses of the psalm go well after the words of Msgr. Magrin, impassioned president of the International Confederation Apostolic Union of Clergy. It is truly a joy to meet and to feel the fraternity that arises among us, called to the service of the Gospel following the example of Christ, the Good Shepherd. To each one of you I address my cordial greeting, which I extend to the representatives of the Apostolic Union of the Laity. In this Assembly you are reflecting on the ordained ministry, “in, for and with the diocesan community”. In continuity with previous meetings, you intend to focus on the role of pastors in the particular Church; and in this rereading, the hermeneutic key is the diocesan spirituality that is the spirituality of communion in the manner of the Trinitarian communion. Msgr. Magrin underlined that word, “diocesan”: it is a key word. Indeed, the mystery of the Trinitarian communion is the high model of reference for the ecclesial community. Saint John Paul, in his Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte, recalled that “the great challenge facing us in the millennium which is now beginning” is precisely this: “to make the Church the home and school of communion” (43). This involves, in the first instance, “[promoting] a spirituality of communion, making it the guiding principle of education wherever individuals and Christians are formed” (ibid). And today we have a great need for communion, in the Church and in the world. One becomes an expert in spirituality of communion primarily thanks to conversion to Christ, to the docile opening to the action of the Spirit, and by welcoming one’s brothers. As we are well aware, the fruitfulness of the apostolate does not depend only on activity or on organizational efforts, although these are necessary, but firstly upon divine action. Today as in the past the saints are the most effective evangelizers, and all the baptized are called to reach towards the highest measure of Christian life, namely, holiness. This is even more applicable to ordained ministers. I think of worldliness, the temptation of spiritual worldliness, so often concealed in rigidity: one calls the other, they are “stepsisters”, one calls the other. The World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, which is celebrated every year on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, constitutes an ideal opportunity to implore of the Lord the gift of zealous and holy ministers for His Church. To achieve this ideal of holiness, every ordained minister is called to follow the example of the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for His sheep. And from where can we draw this pastoral charity, if not from the heart of Christ? In Him the celestial Father has filled us with the infinite treasures of mercy, tenderness and love: here we can always find the spiritual energy indispensable to be able to radiate His love and His joy in the world. And we are led to Christ every day also in the filial relation with our Mother, Mary Most Holy, especially in the contemplation of the mysteries of the Rosary. Closely linked with the path of spirituality is commitment to pastoral action in the service of the people of God, visible today and in the concreteness of the local Church: pastors are called to be wise and faithful servants who imitate the Lord, who don the apron of service and bend to the lives of their communities, to understand their history and to live the joys and sufferings, expectations and hopes of the flock entrusted to them. Indeed, Vatican Council II taught that the right way for ordained ministers to achieve holiness is in “[performing] their duties sincerely and indefatigably in the Spirit of Christ”; “by the sacred actions which are theirs daily as well as by their entire ministry which they share with the bishop and their fellow priests, they are directed to perfection in their lives” (Decreto Presbyterorum Ordinis, 12). You rightly highlight that ordained ministers acquire the right pastoral style also by cultivating fraternal relations and participating in the pastoral journey of the diocesan Church, in its appointments, its projects and its initiatives that translate the programmatic guidelines into practice. A particular Church has a concrete face, rhythms and decisions; it must be served with dedication every day, bearing witness to the harmony and unity that is lived and developed with the bishop. The pastoral journey of the local community has as an essential point of reference the pastoral plan of the diocese, which must take precedence over the programmes of associations, movements or any other particular group. And this pastoral unity, of everyone around the bishop, will bring unity to the Church. And it is very sad when, in a presbytery, we find that this unity does not exist, it is apparent. And there gossip reigns: gossip destroys the diocese, destroys the unity of presbyters, the unity among them and with the bishop. Brother priests, remember, please: we always see bad things in others – because cataracts don’t appear in this eye – eyes are always ready to see ugly things, but I urge you not to arrive at gossip. If I see bad things, I pray or, as a brother, I speak. I do not act as a “terrorist”, because gossip is a form of terrorism. Gossiping is like through a bomb: I destroy the other person and go away calmly. Please, no gossip, they are the like the woodworm that eat through the fabric of the Church, of the diocesan Church, of the unity among all of us. Dedication to the particular Church must then be expressed more broadly, with attention to the life of all the Church. Communion and mission are correlated dynamics. One becomes a minister to serve one’s own particular Church, in obedience to the Holy Spirit and one’s own bishop and in collaboration with other priests, but with the awareness of being part of the universal Church, which crosses the boundaries of one’s own diocese and country. If the mission is an essential quality of the Church, it is especially so for he who, ordained, is called to exercise the ministry in a community that is missionary by nature, and to educate in having a world view – not worldliness, but a world view! Indeed, mission is not an individual choice, due to individual generosity or perhaps pastoral disillusionment, but rather it is a choice of the particular Church that becomes a protagonist in the communication of the Gospel to all peoples. Dear brother bishops, I pray for each one of you and for your ministry, and for the service of the Apostolic Union of Clergy. And I pray also for you, dear brothers and sisters. May my blessing accompany you. And remember: do not forget to pray for me too, as I am in need of prayers! Thank you. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis sends letter to COP23 climate conference in Bonn

Kam, 16/11/2017 - 22:35
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a letter to participants in the COP-23 UN Convention on climate change, taking place in Bonn, Germany on 6-17 November. The letter was sent to Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of the Fiji Islands, which is officially hosting the event, and was read out to COP-23 participants. Pope Francis congratulated the world leaders present at the COP-23 event and invited them "to maintain a high level of cooperation". He renewed his "urgent call" for renewed dialogue "on how we are building the future of the planet." "We need an exchange that unites us all," he said, "because the environmental challenge we are experiencing, and its human roots, regards us all, and affects us all." The Pope warned participants not to fall into "four perverse attitudes" regarding the future of the planet: "denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions." Finally, Pope Francis sent his well-wishes that the COP-23 would be "inspired by the same collaborative and prophetic spirit manifested during the COP-21" event at which the historic Paris agreement was signed. Please find below the official translation of the Pope's message: Excellency, Nearly two years ago, the international community gathered within this UNFCCC forum, with most of its highest government representatives, and after a long and complex debate arrived at the adoption of the historic Paris Agreement. It saw the achievement of consensus on the need to launch a shared strategy to counteract one of the most worrying phenomena our humanity is experiencing: climate change. The will to follow this consensus was highlighted by the speed with which the Paris Agreement entered into force, less than a year after its adoption. The Agreement indicates a clear path of transition to a low- or zero-carbon model of economic development, encouraging solidarity and leveraging the strong links between combating climate change and poverty. This transition is further solicited by the climatic urgency that requires greater commitment from the countries, some of which must endeavour to take a leading role in this transition, bearing in mind the needs of the most vulnerable populations. These days you are gathered in Bonn to carry out another important phase of the Paris Agreement: the process of defining and constructing guidelines, rules and institutional mechanisms so that it may be truly effective and capable of contributing to the achievement of the complex objectives it proposes. In such a path, it is necessary to maintain a high level of cooperation. From this perspective, I would like to reaffirm my urgent call to renew dialogue on how we are building the future of the planet. We need an exchange that unites us all, because the environmental challenge we are experiencing, and its human roots, regards us all, and affects us all. [...] Unfortunately, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis are often frustrated for various reasons ranging from denial of the problem to indifference, comfortable resignation, or blind trust in technical solutions (cf. Encyclical Laudato si’, 14). We should avoid falling into the trap of these four perverse attitudes, which certainly do not help honest research or sincere and productive dialogue on building the future of our planet: denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions. Moreover, we cannot limit ourselves only to the economic and technological dimension: technical solutions are necessary but not sufficient; it is essential and desirable to carefully consider the ethical and social impacts and impacts of the new paradigm of development and progress in the short, medium and long term. From this perspective, it is increasingly necessary to pay attention to education and lifestyles based on an integral ecology, capable of taking on a vision of honest research and open dialogue where the various dimensions of the Paris Agreement are intertwined. It is useful to remember that the Agreement recalls the “grave … ethical and moral responsibility to act without delay, in a manner as free as possible from political and economic pressures, setting aside particular interests and behaviour” (cf. Message to COP-22). This means, in effect, propagating a “responsible awareness” towards our common home (cf. Encyclical Laudato si’, 202; 231) through the contribution of all, in explaining the different forms of action and partnership between the various stakeholders, some of whom do not lack to highlight the ingenuity of the human being in favour of the common good. While I send my greetings to you, Mr President, and to all the participants in this Conference, I hope that, with your authoritative guidance and that of the Fiji Islands, the work of these days will be inspired by the same collaborative and prophetic spirit manifested during the COP-21. This will enable an acceleration of awareness-raising and consolidate the will to make effective decisions to counteract the phenomenon of climate change while at the same time fighting poverty and promoting true human development as a whole. This commitment is supported by the wise providence of God Most High. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope at daily Mass: The Kingdom of God is within us

Kam, 16/11/2017 - 22:24
(Vatican Radio) The kingdom of God is not a show, much less a carnival; it does not go looking for publicity. Its growth comes from the Holy Spirit, rather than from “pastoral plans.” That was the message of Pope Francis in his daily homily at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The point of departure for the Pope’s homily was the Pharisees’ question in the day’s Gospel about when the Kingdom of God will come. It is a simple question, the Pope said, which can be asked in good faith, as appears in numerous passages in the Gospel. John the Baptist, for example, when he was imprisoned, sent his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if He was the Messiah, or if they should look for another. Later, in another passage, the same question is turned around: during His Passion, the bystanders say to Jesus, “If you are he, come down from the Cross.” Pope Francis said there are always doubts, there is always curiosity about when the Kingdom of God will come. “The Kingdom of God is in your midst”: That is the answer of Jesus. That is the “glad tidings” in the synagogue of Nazareth, when Jesus, after having read a passage from Isaiah, says that that Scripture is fulfilled “today,” in their midst. Like a seed, when it is sown, grows from within, so the Kingdom of God grows “in hiding,” in the midst “of us,” the Pope repeated. Or it is like “the gem, or the treasure,” but always in humility: “But who makes that seed grow? Who makes it sprout? God, the Holy Spirit, who is within us. And the Holy Spirit is the spirit of meekness, the spirit of humility, He is the spirit of obedience, the spirit of simplicity. It is He who makes the Kingdom of God grow with, not pastoral plans, the great things… No, it is the Spirit, in hiding. He makes it grow, and the moment arrives, and the fruit appears.” In the case of the good thief, the Pope asked when the seed of the Kingdom of God was sown in his heart. Perhaps it was his mother, Pope Francis suggested, or perhaps a rabbi when he was explaining the law. And then, perhaps, it is forgotten – but at a certain point “in hiding,” the Spirit makes it grow. What this means, the Pope said, is that the Kingdom of God is always “a surprise,” because it is “a gift given by the Lord.” Jesus explains that “the Kingdom of God does not come in such a way that it attracts attention, and no one will say, ‘Look, there it is,’ or ‘Look, here it is.’” “It is not a show, or, even worse, a carnival,” he said, although often times we think of it that way.” “The Kingdom of God is not seen with haughtiness or pride; it does not love publicity. It is humble, hidden, and thus it grows. I think that when the people saw the Madonna, those who followed Jesus [said]: ‘That’s the mother, ah…’ The most holy woman, but in hiding. No one knew the mystery of the Kingdom of God, the holiness of the Kingdom of God. And when she was close by the Cross of her Son, the people said, ‘But the poor woman, with this criminal as a son, poor woman…’ Nothing, no one understood.” The Kingdom of God, then, always grows in hiding, the Pope said, because it is there, in our midst, that the Holy Spirit “makes it sprout, until it bears fruit.” “We are all called to take this road of the kingdom of God: It is a vocation, it is a grace, it is a gift, it is given freely, it is not purchased, it is a grace that God gives us. And all we who are baptized have the Holy Spirit within [us]. How is my relationship with the Holy Spirit, Who makes the Kingdom of God grow within me? A good question for all of us to ask ourselves today. Do I believe this? Do I truly believe that the Kingdom of God is in the midst of us, it is hidden? Or do I like spectacle even more?” Pope Francis concluded his homily by asking the Holy Spirit for the grace to make “make the seed of the Kingdom of God” grow in us and in the Church, with strength, “so that it might become large, give refuge to many people, and give the fruits of sanctity.” (from Vatican Radio)...

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

Kam, 16/11/2017 - 21:24
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)...

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

Kam, 16/11/2017 - 21:14
(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)...

Pope addresses end-of-life issues

Kam, 16/11/2017 - 20:26
(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)...

World Day of the Poor: A day for giving and receiving

Kam, 16/11/2017 - 14:48
(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)...

General Audience: Holy Mass is the prayer "par excellence"

Rab, 15/11/2017 - 20:42
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.” (from Vatican Radio)...

Vatican announces initaitives for first World Day of Poor

Rab, 15/11/2017 - 00:20
(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)...

Card. Parolin urges US Bishops to work for a more just and inclusive society

Sel, 14/11/2017 - 23:24
(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)...

Programme of Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to Peru and Chile released

Sel, 14/11/2017 - 15:56
(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)...

Pacific Island leaders share climate concerns at COP23

Sen, 13/11/2017 - 21:59
(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)...

Pope sends condolences to Iran, Iraq following deadly earthquake

Sen, 13/11/2017 - 21:12
(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)...

Pope at Santa Marta: scandal wounds hearts and kills hope

Sen, 13/11/2017 - 19:26
(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)...

The Vatican calls for integral nuclear disarmament

Min, 12/11/2017 - 22:12
(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)...

Pope at Angelus: 'charity fuels faith making it fruitful and credible'

Min, 12/11/2017 - 21:30
(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)...

Pope addresses Pacific Islands Forum leaders

Sab, 11/11/2017 - 20:53
(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)...

Pope sends video message to CEI conference on Amoris laetitia

Sab, 11/11/2017 - 19:07
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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