Vatican News

Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

Vatican News - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 10:48
On Monday, Pope Francis received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes: MARTYRDOM - Servant of God Tito Zeman, Slovakian professed priest of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco (1915-1969). HEROIC VIRTUES - Servant of God Octavio Ortiz Arrieta, Peruvian bishop, of the Salesians of St. John Bosco (1878-1958); - Servant of God Antonio Provolo, Italian diocesan priest, founder of the Society of Mary for the Education of the Deaf-Mutes, and the Sisters of the Society of Mary for the Education of the Deaf-Mute (1801-1842); - Servant of God Antonio Repiso Martínez de Orbe, Mexican professed priest of the Society of Jesus, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Shepherd (1856-1929); - Servant of God María de las Mercedes Cabezas Terrera, Spanish founder of the Missionary Workers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1911-1993); - Servant of God Lucia of the Immaculate Conception (née Maria Ripamonti), Italian professed religious of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity (1909-1954); - Servant of God Pedro Herrero Rubio, Spanish layperson (1904-1978); - Servant of God Vittorio Trancanelli, Italian layperson and father (1944-1998). (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis ‘studying possibility’ of South Sudan visit

Vatican News - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 04:34
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has said his staff is “studying the possibility” of a visit to South Sudan. He said the reason was that “the Anglican, Presbyterian, and Catholic” bishops of South Sudan had come to ask him: “Please, come to South Sudan, even for a day, but don’t come alone, come with Justin Welby”, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury. “We are looking at whether it is possible, or if the situation down there is too dangerous. But we have to do it, because they – the three [Christian communities] – together desire peace, and they are working together for peace.” The Holy Father’s words came during his Sunday visit to Rome’s All Saints Anglican Church in a question-and-answer session. He was responding to a question from an Anglican seminarian from Nigeria, who had asked the Pope about the vitality of churches in the Southern Hemisphere. Pope Francis said those churches are young and therefore have a certain vitality due to their youthfulness. He also told an anecdote about Blessed Paul VI to show that “ecumenism is often easier in young churches”. “When Blessed Paul VI beatified the Ugandan martyrs – a young Church – among the martyrs were catechists, all were young, while some were Catholics and others Anglican, and all were martyred by the same king in hate for the faith, because they refused to follow the dirty proposals of the king. And Paul VI was embarrassed, saying: ‘I should beatify both groups; they are both martyrs.’ But in that moment of the Catholic Church, such a thing was not possible.” Responding to another question about ecumenical relations between the churches, Pope Francis said, “The relationship between Catholics and Anglicans today is good; we care for each other like brothers!” He then gave two examples of common ground: saints and the monastic life. “We have a common tradition of the saints… Never, never in the two Churches, have the two traditions renounced the saints: Christians who lived the Christian witness until that point. This is important.” “There is another thing that has kept up a strong connection between our religious traditions: [male and female] monks, monasteries. And monks, both Catholic and Anglican, are a great spiritual strength of our traditions.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope visits All Saints Anglican Church

Vatican News - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 12:45
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has paid a visit to All Saints Anglican Church in the heart of Rome. This afternoon the Pope presided over an evensong service with the bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Europe Robert Innes. Whilst at the Church the Holy Father also answered questions from the congregation. Responding to one question the Holy Father said a visit to South Sudan was being studied at the moment. He also said there was the possiblity that he would be accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. The Pope also blessed a newly commissioned icon of Christ the Saviour. It’s the first time a pope has visited an Anglican church in Rome and it comes as part of All Saints’ 200th anniversary celebrations. Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen followed events and spoke to Lydia O'Kane from All Saints Church.  Listen:  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: Catholics and Anglicans, brothers and sisters in Christ

Vatican News - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 10:35
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday visited the Anglican Parish of All Saints in Rome. Speaking at the Church the Pope said, "today, with gratitude to God, we recognize one another as we truly are: brothers and sisters in Christ, through our common baptism.  As friends and pilgrims we wish to walk the path together, to follow our Lord Jesus Christ together." Find below the English translation of the Pope's words. Dear Brothers and Sisters,             I wish to thank you for your gracious invitation to celebrate this parish anniversary with you.  More than two hundred years have passed since the first public Anglican liturgy was held in Rome for a group of English residents in this part of the city.  A great deal has changed in Rome and in the world since then.  In the course of these two centuries, much has also changed between Anglicans and Catholics, who in the past viewed each other with suspicion and hostility.  Today, with gratitude to God, we recognize one another as we truly are: brothers and sisters in Christ, through our common baptism.  As friends and pilgrims we wish to walk the path together, to follow our Lord Jesus Christ together.              You have invited me to bless the new icon of Christ the Saviour.  Christ looks at us, and his gaze upon us is one of salvation, of love and compassion.  It is the same merciful gaze which pierced the hearts of the Apostles, who left the past behind and began a journey of new life, in order to follow and proclaim the Lord.  In this sacred image, as Jesus looks upon us, he seems also to call out to us, to make an appeal to us: “Are you ready to leave everything from your past for me?  Do you want to make my love known, my mercy?”             His gaze of divine mercy is the source of the whole Christian ministry.  The Apostle Paul says this to us, through his words to the Corinthians which we have just heard.  He writes: “Having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart” (2 Cor 4:1).  Our ministry flows forth from the mercy of God, which sustains our ministry and prevents it losing its vigour.             Saint Paul did not always have an easy relationship with the community at Corinth, as his letters show.  There was also a painful visit to this community, with heated words exchanged in writing.  But this passage shows Paul overcoming past differences.  By living his ministry in the light of mercy received, he does not give up in the face of divisions, but devotes himself to reconciliation.  When we, the community of baptized Christians, find ourselves confronted with disagreements and turn towards the merciful face of Christ to overcome it, it is reassuring to know that we are doing as Saint Paul did in one of the very first Christian communities.             How does Saint Paul grapple with this task, where does he begin?  With humility, which is not only a beautiful virtue, but a question of identity.  Paul sees himself as a servant, proclaiming not himself but Christ Jesus the Lord (v. 5).  And he carries out this service, this ministry according to the mercy shown him (v. 1): not on the basis of his ability, nor by relying on his own strength, but by trusting that God is watching over him and sustaining his weakness with mercy.  Becoming humble means drawing attention away from oneself, recognizing one’s dependence on God as a beggar of mercy: this is the starting point so that God may work in us.  A past president of the World Council of Churches described Christian evangelization as “a beggar telling another beggar where he can find bread”.  I believe Saint Paul would approve.  He grasped the fact that he was “fed by mercy” and that his priority was to share his bread with others: the joy of being loved by the Lord, and of loving him.              This is our most precious good, our treasure, and it is in this context that Paul introduces one of his most famous images, one we can all apply to ourselves:  “we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (v. 7).  We are but earthen vessels, yet we keep within us the greatest treasure in the world.  The Corinthians knew well that it was foolish to preserve something precious in earthen vessels, which were inexpensive but cracked easily.  Keeping something valuable in them meant running the risk of losing it.  Paul, a graced sinner, humbly recognized that he was fragile, just like an earthen vessel.  But he experienced and knew that it was precisely there that human misery opens itself to God’s merciful action; the Lord performs wonders.  That is how the “extraordinary power” of God works (v. 7).           Trusting in this humble power, Paul serves the Gospel.  Speaking of some of his adversaries in Corinth, he calls them “super apostles” (2 Cor 12:11), perhaps, and with a certain irony, because they had criticized him for his weaknesses even as they considered themselves observant, even perfect.  Paul, on the other hand, teaches that only in realizing we are weak earthen vessels, sinners always in need of mercy, can the treasure of God be poured into us and through us upon others.  Otherwise, we will merely be full of our treasures, which are corrupted and spoiled in seemingly beautiful vessels.  If we recognize our weakness and ask for forgiveness, then the healing mercy of God will shine in us and will be visible to those outside; others will notice in some way, through us, the gentle beauty of Christ’s face.             At a certain point, perhaps in the most difficult moment with the community in Corinth, the Apostle Paul cancelled a visit he had planned to make there, also foregoing the offerings he would have received from them (2 Cor 1:15-24).  Though tensions existed in their fellowship, these did not have the final word.  The relationship was restored and Paul received the offering for the care of the Church in Jerusalem.  The Christians in Corinth once again took up their work, together with the other communities which Paul visited, to sustain those in need.  This is a powerful sign of renewed communion.  The work that your community is carrying out together with other English-speaking communities here in Rome can be viewed in this light.  True, solid communion grows and is built up when people work together for those in need.  Through a united witness to charity, the merciful face of Jesus is made visible in our city.             As Catholics and Anglicans, we are humbly grateful that, after centuries of mutual mistrust, we are now able to recognize that the fruitful grace of Christ is at work also in others.  We thank the Lord that among Christians the desire has grown for greater closeness, which is manifested in our praying together and in our common witness to the Gospel, above all in our various forms of service.  At times, progress on our journey towards full communion may seem slow and uncertain, but today we can be encouraged by our gathering.  For the first time, a Bishop of Rome is visiting your community.  It is a grace and also a responsibility: the responsibility of strengthening our ties, to the praise of Christ, in service of the Gospel and of this city.             Let us encourage one another to become ever more faithful disciples of Jesus, always more liberated from our respective prejudices from the past and ever more desirous to pray for and with others.  A good sign of this desire is the “twinning” taking place today between your parish of All Saints and All Saints Catholic parish.  May the saints of every Christian confession, fully united in the Jerusalem above, open for us here below the way to all the possible paths of a fraternal and shared Christian journey.  Where we are united in the name of Jesus, he is there (cf. Mt 18:20), and turning his merciful gaze towards us, he calls us to devote ourselves fully in the cause of unity and love.  May the face of God shine upon you, your families and this entire community!  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Angelus: Let God take care of tomorrow

Vatican News - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 06:42
(Vatican Radio) During his Angelus address on Sunday in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis took his cue from the Gospel reading of the day in which Jesus calls us not to worry about tomorrow, recalling that above all there is a loving Father who never forgets his children. Listen:  Drawing from this passage the Pope reminded the pilgrims and tourists present to trust in God who takes care of the living beings of creation. Trusting in him, explained the Holy Father, “will not magically solve our problems, but it lets us face them with the right frame of mind.” Pope Francis went on to say that, “God is not distant or anonymous: he is our refuge, the source of our serenity and our peace.” When we distance ourselves from God we end up following the obsessive pursuit of worldly goods and riches. However, Jesus, the Holy Father said, “tells us that this desperate search is an illusion and a cause of unhappiness.”  Quoting from scripture, Pope Francis reiterated that "You cannot serve God and wealth"; one has to choose constantly the road that leads to God, because the temptation to reduce everything to money, pleasure and power is pressing. Choosing God’s path, observed the Holy Father may not immediately bear fruit but it ultimately leads to fulfillment and the realization of his plans for us. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to bless Bethlehem icon at All Saints Anglican Church

Vatican News - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 07:43
(Vatican Radio) The blessing of a newly commissioned icon of Christ the Saviour sets the stage for Pope Francis’ historic visit to the Anglican Church of All Saints on Sunday. It’s the first time a pope has ever visited an Anglican place of worship in his diocese of Rome and it comes as the centerpiece of celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the community. The icon, which will be blessed by the Pope, together with Anglican and Orthodox leaders attending the afternoon prayer service, is the work of English artist Ian Knowles, who heads a school for Palestinian art students in the Holy Land. He talked to Philippa Hitchen about the aims of the Bethlehem Icon Centre and the way this type of liturgical art can help to heal our ecumenical divisions… Listen :  Knowles says he started the school four and half years ago as an attempt “to revive iconography as living art in the Holy Land” since research suggests that this art form began in the monasteries of Palestine during the 5th and 6th centuries. So many Christians are leaving the region, he said, that the community is down to one or two percent of the population in Palestine, making it “very important that you nurture what roots are still left”. In this way he hopes the school can contribute to rebuilding the Christian community “giving a bit of hope and confidence to those Christians” who want to remain. The school currently has over 30 students, many of them enrolled on a diploma programme which works in conjunction with the Prince of Wales school of traditional arts in London. It also runs courses twice a year to bring visitors to stay and pray in Bethlehem, not just to visit the Church of the Nativity but to give people the chance to “stay and live alongside local Christians”. Doing that through iconography, Knowles says, touches “the very heart of what Bethlehem is about”. Asked about the icon at All Saints, the artist says he believes that iconography is “incarnational art so it has to relate to the community it’s being painted for”. Considering the English Christian cultural heritage of All Saints and the presence of Pope Francis,  Knowles says he recalled a famous image of Christ the Saviour from around the 5th century kept in the chapel of Rome’s Lateran palace . When Rome was under threat in those early centuries, he notes, the pope “would take the image and walk around city barefoot”. Pope Francis’s visit, he believes, will in a similar sense, help to foster healing of the ecumenical wounds of the past. As well as the image in the Lateran, Knowles says he drew inspiration from  the medieval English illustrator Matthew Paris. Describing icons as “a hymn in paint”. Knowles says the works are all done with natural pigments, including “rocks which I find on the way to Jericho and we grind up”. God has given us these natural colours, he says, and it’s our job to “weave them together into something which is joyful and beautiful”, or as Dostoyevsky describes it, an image of salvation. The point of an icon, he concludes, is to be an encounter, just as the liturgy is the place where “heaven is wedded to earth” so this liturgical art is about the “opening up of earth to heaven”. It is like a door “through which the saint or Christ himself comes and is present to the worshipper, and graces and blesses them, and you find yourself caught up in heaven through these images”. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: Parish priests called to support married couples

Vatican News - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 06:49
On Saturday morning in the Vatican, Pope Francis met with parish priests participating in a training course dealing with annulment procedures and other legal issues surrounding marriage . The course was organized by the Roman Rota , the highest appellate tribunal of the Church. Listen to the report:  Referring to the proposals of the Synod of Bishops on “Marriage and the Family”, and his subsequent Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia”, the Pope praised this study initiative saying it  is the parish priest who is in daily contact with families and is called to concretely apply the  appropriate juridical norms. In most cases, said the Pope, the parish priest is the first to whom young people turn when they decide to marry and create a new family. And again, it is to the parish priest that couples come when their marriage is in crisis and they need to rediscover the Grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony. No one knows better than you do, he told the priests, the complexity and variety of problems that exist in marriage: Christian unions, civil marriages, broken marriages, families and young people who are happy or unhappy. “You are called to be a travel companion to every person in every situation, to support and to give witness”, said the Pope. First and foremost you are called to witness to the Grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony and the good of the Family as the vital heart of the Church and society, by proclaiming that marriage between a man and a woman is a sign of the union between Christ and His Church. Pope Francis went on to say how God and His Love are reflected in the Sacrament of Marriage – which he described as “an icon of God”. At the same time, the parish priest is called to support those who have come to realise that their union is not a true sacramental marriage and want to correct this situation. In this delicate and necessary moment make sure your faithful see you as a brother who listens and understands, rather than an expert in bureaucracy and juridical norms, he said. Pope Francis invited parish priest to pay special attention to those young people who prefer to live together rather than get married. “Spiritually and morally-speaking,” he said, ”they are among the poor and little ones towards whom the Church wants to be a Mother who never abandons, but is close to them and takes care of them…So be tender and compassionate towards them”. Finally, the Pope reminded those present of his speech to the Roman Rota on January 21st in which he called for a new teaching style in preparing couples for matrimony, one that follows each step of their sacramental journey, from the wedding itself to the first years of marriage. “I encourage you to put this teaching into practice”, he said, “despite the difficulties you may encounter.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: A society that excludes not worthy of mankind

Vatican News - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 06:49
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged the Comunità di Capodarco in its work to help the disabled and marginalized people of society. The community was founded in 1966 in the Capodarco neighborhood of the eastern Italian city of Fermo. Listen to the report by Charles Collins : Its main activity is organizing services for the rehabilitation of disabled people, with a particular aim of social and occupational integration. Over the years, its sphere of action expanded to helping young people, children, drug addicts, immigrants, the mentally ill, and other populations on the peripheries of society. “The Comunità di Capodarco , existing in numerous local chapters, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year,” – Pope Francis told them – “With you, I thank the Lord for the good accomplished during these years … You have chosen to be on the side of people who are less protected; to offer them hospitality, support and hope, in a dynamic of sharing. In this way, you have contributed and contribute to making a better society.” The Holy Father said the quality of life within a society is measured from the ability to include its weakest members, “effectively respecting their dignity as men and women,” adding this inclusion should be seen “not as something extraordinary, but normal.” “Even the person with disabilities and frailties – physical, mental or moral - must be able to participate in the life of society and be helped to implement his or her potential in different ways,” – the Pope continued – “A society that would give space only to people who are fully functional - completely autonomous and independent - would not be a society worthy of man. Discrimination based upon efficiency is no less deplorable than that based upon by race, religion, or ability to pay.” Pope Francis praised the Comunità di Capodarco for not approaching those who are weaker with a “pietistic attitude” or as if they were welfare cases, but by promoting the “protagonism of the person.” “In the face of economic problems and the negative consequences of globalization, your community is trying to help those who find themselves being tested not to feel excluded or marginalized; but, on the contrary, to walk at the forefront, carrying the witness of personal experience,” – the Pope said – “This promotes the dignity and respect of each individual, making the ‘losers of life’ feel the tenderness of God, loving Father of all of his creatures.” The Holy Father also said those marked by physical or mental impediments have a special place in the Church, and their participation in the ecclesial community “opens the way to simple and fraternal relations, and their filial and spontaneous prayer invites all of us to pray to our Heavenly Father.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to French volunteers: promote a culture of mercy

Vatican News - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 06:03
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received in audience on Saturday the French voluntary service agency, “the Catholic Delegation for Cooperation”, which is marking the 50th anniversary of its foundation. Listen to Lydia O’Kane's report: The Catholic Delegation for Cooperation is the international voluntary service agency run by the Church in France and has volunteers on missions in over 50 countries who work in solidarity with local Churches and communities on development projects. Culture of Mercy To mark its 50th anniversary the delegation on Saturday was received by Pope Francis in the Vatican where he told them to promote a culture of mercy. He said this culture needed to be one where “no one looks to the other with indifference or runs away when he sees the suffering of brothers “. Do not be afraid, the Pope told those gathered “to walk the streets of fraternity and to build bridges between peoples…” Through your initiatives, your plans and your actions, he added, you render a poor Church visible, one that empathizes with those who are suffering, marginalized and excluded. Solidarity The Holy Father pointed out that the word “solidarity” is at times over used to such an extent that its meaning is lost, and is in fact more than just an act of generosity. He explained that what was required was a new mindset that thinks in terms of the community where everyone is respected. Thinking in this way, underlined Pope Francis also contributes to a genuine ecological conversion which recognizes the eminent dignity of every person, their value, their creativity and their ability to seek and promote the common good. The Pope encouraged the delegation to be at the service of a Church which allows everyone to recognize the amazing closeness of God, his compassion, his love and to welcome the strength that he gives us in Jesus Christ.     (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis addresses Vatican conference on human right to water

Vatican News - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 11:24
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis met on Friday with participants in a conference on the human right to water, organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Listen to the report by Philippa Hitchen : Pope Francis said the questions concerning the right to water are not marginal, but basic and pressing.  Basic, because where there is water there is life, and pressing, because our common home needs to be protected. Yet we must also realise, he said, that not all water is life-giving, but only water that is safe and of good quality. The right to safe drinking water, he insisted, is a basic human right which cries out for practical solutions and needs to be given the central place it deserves in the framework of public policy.  Our right to water, the Pope continued, gives rise to an inseparable duty. Every state, he said, is called to implement, also through juridical instruments, the Resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly since 2010 concerning the human right to a secure supply of drinking water. Similarly, non-state actors are required to assume their own responsibilities with respect to this right which is so decisive for the future of humanity.   Noting that every day a thousand children die from water-related illnesses and millions of people consume polluted water, the Pope said we must give high priority to educating future generations about the gravity of the situation.  We cannot be indifferent to these facts, he said, but rather we must work to develop a culture of care and encounter, in order to make our common home a more liveable and fraternal place, where none are excluded, but all are able to live and grow in dignity. Please find below the official English translation of the Pope's address: Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Conference on the Human Right to Water Pontifical Academy of Sciences 23 February 2017 Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good afternoon!  I greet all of you and I thank you for taking part in this meeting concerned with the human right to water and the need for suitable public policies in this regard.  It is significant that you have gathered to pool your knowledge and resources in order to respond to this urgent need of today’s men and women. The Book of Genesis tells us that water was there in the beginning ( cf. Gen 1:2 ); in the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, it is “useful, chaste and humble” ( cf. Canticle of the Creatures ).  The questions that you are discussing are not marginal, but basic and pressing.  Basic, because where there is water there is life, making it possible for societies to arise and advance.  Pressing, because our common home needs to be protected.  Yet it must also be realized that not all water is life-giving, but only water that is safe and of good quality. All people have a right to safe drinking water.  This is a basic human right and a central issue in today’s world ( cf. Laudato Si’, 30; Caritas in Veritate, 27 ).  This is a problem that affects everyone and is a source of great suffering in our common home.  It also cries out for practical solutions capable of surmounting the selfish concerns that prevent everyone from exercising this fundamental right.  Water needs to be given the central place it deserves in the framework of public policy.  Our right to water is also a duty to water.  Our right to water gives rise to an inseparable duty.  We are obliged to proclaim this essential human right and to defend it – as we have done – but we also need to work concretely to bring about political and juridical commitments in this regard.  Every state is called to implement, also through juridical instruments, the Resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly since 2010 concerning the human right to a secure supply of drinking water.  Similarly, non-state actors are required to assume their own responsibilities with respect to this right. The right to water is essential for the survival of persons ( cf. Laudato Si’, 30 ) and decisive for the future of humanity.  High priority needs to be given to educating future generations about the gravity of the situation.  Forming consciences is a demanding task, one requiring conviction and dedication. The statistics provided by the United Nations are troubling, nor can they leave us indifferent.  Each day a thousand children die from water-related illnesses and millions of persons consume polluted water.  These facts are serious; we have to halt and reverse this situation.  It is not too late, but it is urgent to realize the need and essential value of water for the good of mankind. Respect for water is a condition for the exercise of the other human rights (cf. ibid., 30).  If we consider this right fundamental, we will be laying the foundations for the protection of other rights.  But if we neglect this basic right, how will we be able to protect and defend other rights?  Our commitment to give water its proper place calls for developing a culture of care (cf. ibid., 231) and encounter, joining in common cause all the necessary efforts made by scientists and business people, government leaders and politicians.  We need to unite our voices in a single cause; then it will no longer be a case of hearing individual or isolated voices, but rather the plea of our brothers and sisters echoed in our own, and the cry of the earth for respect and responsible sharing in a treasure belonging to all.  In this culture of encounter, it is essential that each state act as a guarantor of universal access to safe and clean water.  God the Creator does not abandon us in our efforts to provide access to clean drinking water to each and to all.  It is my hope that this Conference will help strengthen your convictions and that you will leave in the certainty that your work is necessary and of paramount importance so that others can live.  With the “little” we have, we will be helping to make our common home a more liveable and fraternal place, where none are rejected or excluded, but all enjoy the goods needed to live and to grow in dignity.  Thank you. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: In God there is both justice and mercy

Vatican News - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 11:24
(Vatican Radio) In the journey of the Christian, truth is not negotiable; rather, a Christian must be just in mercy, as Jesus teaches us. That was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father warned against hypocrisy and the deception of a faith reduced to a “casuistic logic.” Listen to Christopher Wells' report: “Is it lawful for a husband to put away his wife?” That is the question the doctors of the law put to Jesus in the day's Gospel. Jesus does not give in to a casuistic logic, but always explains the truth They asked the question to once more put Jesus to the test, the Pope observed. Looking to Jesus' answer, the Pope explained what matters most in the faith: “Jesus does not answer whether it is lawful or not lawful; He doesn’t enter into their casuistic logic. Because they thought of the faith only in terms of ‘Yes, you can,” or “No, you can’t” – to the limits of what you can do, the limits of what you can’t do. That logic of casuistry. And He asks a question: “But what did Moses command you? What is in your Law?” And they explained the permission Moses had given to put away the wife, and they themselves fall into the trap. Because Jesus qualifies them as ‘hard of heart’: ‘Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment,’ and He speaks the truth. Without casuistry. Without permissions. The truth.” The logic of casuistry is hypocritical, deceptive But if this is the truth, and adultery is serious, how then, the Pope asks, does one explain that Jesus spoke “many times with an adulteress, a pagan?” That He “drank from the glass of her who was not purified?” And at the end He said to her: “I do not condemn you. Sin no more”? How does one explain that? “And the path of Jesus – it’s quite clear – is the path from casuistry to truth and mercy. Jesus lays aside casuistry. Not here, but in other passages from the Gospel, He qualifies those who want to put Him to the test, those who think with this logic of ‘Yes, you can’ as hypocrites. Even with the fourth commandment these people refused to assist their parents with the excuse that they had given a good offering to the Church. Hypocrites. Casuistry is hypocritical. It is a hypocritical thought. ‘Yes, you can; no, you can’t’… which then becomes more subtle, more diabolical: But what is the limit for those who can? But from here to here I can’t. It is the deception of casuistry. From casuistry to truth to mercy: this is the Christian path The path of the Christian, then, does not give into the logic of casuistry, but responds with the truth, which is accompanied, following the example of Jesus, by mercy – “because He is the Incarnation of the Mercy of the Father, and He cannot deny Himself. He cannot deny Himself because He is the truth of the Father, and He cannot deny Himself because He is the Mercy of the Father.” Justice and mercy: This is the path that makes us happy “And this street that Jesus teaches us,” the Pope noted, is difficult to apply in the face of the temptations of life: “When the temptation touches your heart, this path of going out from casuistry to truth and mercy is not easy: It takes the grace of God to help us to go forward in this way. And we should always ask for it. ‘Lord, grant that I might be just, but just with mercy.’ Not just, covered by casuistry. Just in mercy. As You are. Just in mercy. Then, someone with a casuistic mentality might ask, “But what is more important in God? Justice or mercy?’ This, too, is a sick thought, that seeks to go out… What is more important? They are not two things: it is only one, only one thing. In God, justice is mercy and mercy is justice. May the Lord help us to understand this street, which is not easy, but which will bring us happiness, and will make so many people happy.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Papal charities buy food products to help quake-hit Italian farmers

Vatican News - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 10:39
(Vatican Radio)  The Office of Papal Charities this week helped out the earthquake-hit regions of central Italy at the express wish of Pope Francis, buying typical food products from local producers and distributing it to several soup kitchens in Rome. Central Italy was hit by a powerful 6.3 magnitude quake in August 2016, which killed nearly 300 people. Other earthquakes have since caused major damage to the area. Farmers and merchants in the affected areas have since suffered a drastic reduction in their revenues. A communique from the Office of Papal Charities said the organization selected “several groups of farmers and producers at risk of closure because of the damages provoked by the earthquake” from which to buy alimentary products. It said vendors were chosen in conjunction with Bishop Domenico Pompili of Rieti, Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole of Ascoli Piceno, Archbishop Francesco Giovanni Brugnaro of Camerino-San Severino Marche, and Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto-Norcia. “The Office of Papal Charities bought a large quantity of their products with the intention, expressed by the Holy Father, to help and encourage them in their activities. It is a gesture in line with the Magisterium of Pope Francis, who in his meetings has often said that ‘when a person does not earn their bread, their dignity is lost’”. The food products bought in the name of the Pope were distributed to several soup kitchens in Rome to make meals for homeless people in need. The Vatican supermarket currently sells products from the earthquake hit zones of central Italy , in an effort to help out the local economy. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican seminar on water pushes for better public policies

Vatican News - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 10:38
(Vatican Radio) A 2-day seminar aiming to propose much needed public policies for water and sanitation management is underway in the Vatican .  Organized by the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences , the seminar is entitled “The human right to water: An interdisciplinary focus and contributions on the central role of public policies in water and sanitation management”. The workshop focuses on the potential and effective contribution of science, culture, politics and technological advancements to the attainment of a fairer world of greater social justice and solidarity.  One of the participants, Father Peter Hughes , a missionary priest who has spent his life working in the Amazon region, pointed out that water management impacts many issues including peace and the prevention of conflicts. Listen : Father Peter Hughes, who has worked all his life in Peru, in the Andes and in the Amazon explains he is currently involved in a new project in defense of the Amazon region – the Pan Amazon – which comprises nine geographical countries. “We are very much aware that the life of the Amazon is now in real danger; the life of so many indigenous communities, their lands that are being taken over and destroyed by the onslaught of mining and oil companies and the destruction of the rainforest for the so-called timber industry” he said. Hughes says all this is also to be taken into consideration in relation to the question of climate. He says the destruction and the depredation of the Amazon is destroying the equilibrium of world climate. “One fifth of the world’s water supply comes from the Amazon; another fifth of the drinking water of the world comes from the Amazon, and it’s now true to say that twenty percent of the Amazon has now been irrevocably destroyed. So the question is: can we, the human family, have the political will to stop the accelerated rate of destruction?” he said. If not, he says, we are in deeper trouble. Regarding the Vatican seminar which focuses on water, Hughes says everybody is aware that “the bottom line of life in all its manifestations is the need for water” He said the need for water has become crucial in a world where water not only is scarce, “but is being denied as a human right, as a basic right for life to too many people”. Hughes says this is due to a number of factors, one of which is that water has been transformed into something with market value. “This takes away from water as something that has something to do with a fundamental human right and the common good” he said. He pointed out that it is increasingly a subject of conflict and violence between peoples and between nations. He says neighboring communities who have lived in relative peace and harmony over the ages are now, because of the scarcity of water, are entering conflictual relationships. “These are some of the questions we are trying to address, he said, pointing out that water has to do with politics, with economics, with culture, with education.” It is also a very sacred issue, Hughes concludes: “the religious dimension in relation to water is founded in all the great religious traditions, particularly in the Christian and Catholic tradition that a lot of us come from and a lot of are engaged in”.             (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis to Rabbis: Torah manifests God's paternal love

Vatican News - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 07:05
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received his long-time friend from his native Argentina, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, on Thursday, along with a delegation of Jewish leaders involved in the preparation of a new edition of the Torah. The annotated, illustrated edition is already being hailed as an achievement in both the literary and visual arts. Pope Francis told his guests, “The extensive introduction to the text and the editor’s note emphasize this dialogical approach and communicate a cultural vision of openness, mutual respect and peace that accords with the spiritual message of the Torah.” Click below to hear our report The Holy Father went on to say, “The important religious figures who have worked on this new edition have paid special attention both to the literary aspect of the text and to the full-colour illustrations that add further value to the publication.” Also in his remarks, Pope Francis spoke of the Torah as a building-block of community – the worldwide Jewish community and the Christian community. “The Torah,” said the Holy Father, “manifests the paternal and visceral love of God, a love shown in words and concrete gestures, a love that becomes covenant.” “The very word covenant is resonant with associations that bring us together,” and, “[t]his publication is itself the fruit of a ‘covenant’ between persons of different nationalities, ages and religious confessions, who joined in this common effort.” The Pope went on to say, “God desires a world in which men and women are bound to him and as a result live in harmony among themselves and with creation. In the midst of so many human words that lead to tragic division and rivalry, these divine words of covenant open before all of us paths of goodness to walk together.”   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: Don't put off conversion, give up a double life

Vatican News - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 06:12
(Vatican Radio) Don’t scandalize “the little ones” with a double life, because scandal destroys. That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. And so, the Pope said, we should not put off conversion. “Cut off your hand,” “Pluck out your eye,” but “don’t scandalize the little ones,” that is, the just, those who confide in the Lord, who believe simply in the Lord. That was the Pope’s exhortation in the homily, based on the day’s Gospel. For the Lord, he said, scandal is destruction: “But what is scandal? Scandal is saying one thing and doing another; it is a double life, a double life. A totally double life: ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this association and that one; but my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my workers a just wage, I exploit people, I am dirty in my business, I launder money…’ A double life. And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others. How many times have we heard – all of us, around the neighbourhood and elsewhere – ‘but to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.’ It is that, scandal. You destroy. You beat down. And this happens every day, it’s enough to see the news on TV, or to read the papers. In the papers there are so many scandals, and there is also the great publicity of the scandals. And with the scandals there is destruction.” The Pope gave the example of a company that was on the brink of failure. The leaders wanted to avoid a just strike, but the company had not done well, and they wanted to talk with the authorities of the company. The people didn’t have money for their daily needs because they had not received their wages. And the head of the company, a Catholic, was taking his winter vacation on a beach in the Middle East, and the people knew it, even if it hadn’t made the papers. “These are scandals,” Pope Francis said: “Jesus talks, in the Gospel, about those who commit scandal, without saying the world ‘scandal,’ but it’s understood: But you will arrive in heaven and you will knock at the gate: ‘Here I am, Lord!’ – ‘But don’t you remember? I went to Church, I was close to you, I belong to this association, I did this… Don’t you remember all the offerings I made?’ ‘Yes, I remember. The offerings, I remember them: All dirty. All stolen from the poor. I don’t know you.’ That will be Jesus’ response to these scandalous people who live a double life. “The double life comes from following the passions of the heart, the capital sins that are the wounds of original sin,” hiding the passions, but following them, the Pope explained. The first Reading, in fact, tells us that they do not satisfy, and not to trust in riches, to not say, “There’s enough for myself.” And so Pope Francis calls us to not put off conversion: “It would be good for all of us, each one of us, today, to consider if there is something of a double life within us, of appearing just, of seeming to be good believers, good Catholics, but underneath doing something else; if there is something of a double life, if there is an excessive confidence: ‘But, sure, the Lord will eventually forgive everything, but I’ll keep going as I have been…’ If there is something saying, “Sure, this is not going well, I will convert, but not today: tomorrow.’ Let’s think about that. And let us profit from the Word of the Lord and consider the fact that on this point, the Lord is very strict. Scandal destroys.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope tells football players team spirit is important in life

Vatican News - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 05:49
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday told members of the Spanish Villarreal football club that the team spirit which is so vital in playing a good match is fundamental in life and society as well. The Pope was receiving some of the Villarreal club players, managers and coaching staff who are in Rome to take on the “AS Roma” team in their second leg of the “Europa League” championship.   To those present he said that football, like others sports, is a mirror of life and society: “when you are on the field you need each other. Each player puts his professional skill and talent to the benefit of a common goal, which is to play well and to win.” The Pope pointed out that much training is needed to achieve that affinity and said that it is important to invest time and effort in creating a team spirit. “This is possible if you act in the spirit of fellowship, leaving aside individualism or personal aspirations. If you play for the good of the group, then it is easier to win” he said. Pope Francis also spoke of the power of sports to educate and transmit positive values. He said many people, especially young people, watch and admire football players who have the responsibility to provide a good model and highlight the values of football, which are “companionship, personal effort, the beauty of the game, team play”. The Pope also said one of the traits of a good athlete is gratitude: “you must remember the many people who have helped you and without whom you would not be here”.  These include, he said, those with whom you played as children, your first teammates, coaches, assistants, and also your fans that encourage you in every game with their presence. He said these memories are important and help one not to feel superior but to always  be aware that one is only part of a great team that goes back a long time.  “Feeling this way helps us grow as people, because our ‘game’ is not only ours, but also that of others, who are somehow part of our lives” he said. Pope Francis is known to be a football fan himself and he concluded his audience encouraging the athletes to keep playing and to keep giving the best of themselves so that others can enjoy those beautiful moments. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis marks Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Vatican News - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 07:30
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter during his final blessing at his weekly General Audience on Wednesday. “Today we celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, the day of the special communion of believers with the Successor of St Peter and the Holy See,” the Pope said. “Dear young people, I encourage you to intensify your prayers for of my Petrine ministry; dear sick people, I thank you for the witness of life given in suffering for the building up of ecclesial community; and you, dear newlyweds, build your family on the same love that binds the Lord Jesus to His Church,” he continued. On this feast day, the statue of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica is dressed in Papal vestments, and venerated by the faithful. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Audience: ‘Hope helps to see beyond negativity of present’

Vatican News - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 07:13
(Vatican Radio)  Self-centeredness and sin corrupt the beauty of Creation, but God does not abandon humanity and turns Creation’s groans into hope for new life. That was at the heart of Pope Francis’ catechesis on Christian hope at his Wednesday General Audience. Listen to Devin Watkins' report: Drawing inspiration from Chapter 8 of the Letter to the Romans, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian hope. He said that St. Paul reminds us that Creation is God’s gift to humanity but that sin corrupts it. “St. Paul reminds us that Creation is a marvelous gift, which God has placed in our hands, so that we can enter into relationship with Him and recognize the imprint of His love, in whose realization we are all called to collaborate, every single day.” But when we are self-centered and commit sin, the Pope said we break our communion with God, and the original beauty of human nature and creation is marred. “With the tragic experience of sin, having broken communion with God, we damaged our original communion with all that surrounds us and we ended up corrupting Creation, turning it into a slave, submitted to our feebleness. Unfortunately, we see the dramatic consequences of this every day. When communion with God is broken, humanity loses its original beauty and ends up disfiguring everything around it; and where before all pointed to the Creator Father and His infinite love, now it carries the sad and desolate sign of pride and human voracity.” Thus, rather than show God’s infinite love, creation bears the wounds of human pride. Pope Francis said the Lord “does not abandon us but offers us a new horizon of freedom and salvation”. He said St. Paul reminds us of this truth, by inviting us to hear the groaning of all Creation. “In fact, if we listen attentively everything around us groans: Creation itself groans; we human beings groan; the Holy Spirit groans in our hearts.” He said these groans “are not sterile or inconsolable, but – as the Apostle points out – they speak of the pangs of birth; they are the groans of one who suffers, but knows that a new life is coming to light.” Despite the many signs of our sins and failings, the Pope said, “we know that we are saved by the Lord, and even now contemplate and experience within ourselves and all around us signs of the Resurrection, of Easter, of a new creation.” He said the Christian does not live outside of this world, but in it. “The Christian has learned to read all things with eyes informed by Easter, with the eyes of the Risen Christ.” And when we are discouraged or tempted to despair, Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and “keeps alive our groans and the hopes of our hearts. The Spirit sees for us beyond the negative appearances of the present and reveals to us even here new heavens and a new earth, which the Lord is preparing for humanity.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope sends telegramme for death of Irish Cardinal Connell

Vatican News - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 06:36
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegramme of condolences for the death of the former Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell, who died on Monday at the age of 90 following a long illness. In the message, addressed to the current Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the Pope recalls Cardinal Connell’s many contributions to the Church in Ireland, especially in the area of philosophical studies. Cardinal Connell was born on 24 March 1926 in Phibsboro, Ireland. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Dublin on 19 May 1951 and held a doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain. In 1953 he started teaching in the Department of Metaphysics at University College Dublin where he was appointed professor of general metaphysics in 1972 and elected dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology in 1983. He wrote on philosophical and theological subjects and for his published work was awarded the degree D.Litt. by the National University of Ireland in 1981. He also served as chaplain to the Poor Clares in Donnybrook, the Carmelites in Drumcondra and the Carmelites in Blackrock. He was appointed Archbishop of Dublin on 21 January 1988, a position he held until April 2004.   Cardinal Connell was created a Cardinal by Pope St. John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 February 2001 with the Titular church of St. Sylvester in Capite. Please see below the full text of the telegramme: To the Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal Desmond Connell, and I extend my heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese.  Recalling with gratitude Cardinal Connell’s years of generous priestly and episcopal ministry to the Archdiocese of Dublin, and his many contributions to the Church in Ireland, especially in the area of philosophical studies, I join you in commending his soul to the merciful love of Almighty God.  In the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing upon all who mourn the late Cardinal, as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord Jesus. FRANCISCUS PP. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis appeals for ‘suffering South Sudan’

Vatican News - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 05:12
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has appealed for the hard-hit people of South Sudan, “where a fratricidal conflict is compounded by a severe food crisis which has hit the Horn of Africa region and condemns to death by starvation millions of people, including many children”. He called on all involved to “commit not to stop at making statements, but also to provide concrete food aid and to allow it to reach suffering populations”. The Holy Father also prayed that the Lord sustain “these our brothers and all those working to help them”. South Sudan’s government officially declared a famine in some parts of the country on Monday. The United Nations has warned that areas hardest hit by war and a collapsing economy have left about 100,000 people facing starvation, while one million others are at risk of famine. Please find below a Vatican Radio English translation of the Pope’s appeal: Of particular concern is the painful news coming from suffering South Sudan, where a fratricidal conflict is compounded by a severe food crisis, which has hit the Horn of Africa region and condemns to death by starvation millions of people, including many children. At this time, it is more necessary than ever that all commit not to stop at making statements, but also to provide concrete food aid and to allow it to reach suffering populations. May the Lord sustain these our brothers and all those working to help them. (from Vatican Radio)...
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