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Angelus Address of Pope Francis, 6 April 2014: There is no limit to the divine mercy
(Vatican Radio) At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke on the day’s Gospel, which relates the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
The full text of Pope Francis Angelus address for Sunday, 6 April 2014, can be found below, translated by Vatican Radio:
Dear brothers and sisters,
The Gospel of this fifth Sunday of Lent tells of the resurrection of Lazarus. It is the culmination of the wonderful “signs” performed by Jesus: an act too great, too clearly divine to be tolerated by the high priests, who, aware of the fact, make the decision to kill Jesus (cf. Jn 11:53).
Lazarus had already been dead for three days when Jesus arrived; and to the sisters Martha and Mary, Jesus spoke the words which are forever impressed upon the memory of the Christian community. Jesus said this: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn 11:25). On this Word of the Lord we believe that the life of one who believes in Jesus and follows His commandments, after death will be transformed in a new life, full and immortal. As Jesus rose with His own body, but did not return to an earthly life, so we will rise with our bodies that will be transfigured into glorious bodies. He waits for us next to the Father, and the strength of the Holy Spirit, that resuscitated Him, will all raise those who are united to Him.
Before the sealed tomb of His friend Lazarus, Jesus “cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth” (vv. 43-44). This peremptory cry is addressed to every human person, because we are all marked by death, all of us; it is the voice of One Who is the master of life, one who will all “should have [life] more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). Christ is not resigned to the sepulchres that we have constructed with our choices of evil and death, with our mistakes, with our sins. He is not resigned to this! He invites us, almost orders us, to come out from the tombs into which our sins have plunged us. He calls us insistently to come out of the darkness of the prison in which we are enclosed, contenting ourselves with a false, selfish, mediocre life. “Come forth!” He says. “Come forth!” It is a beautiful invitation to true freedom, to allow us to grab onto these words of Jesus that He repeats to each one of us today, an invitation that allows us to free ourselves from the “bands,” from the bands of pride. Because pride makes us slaves, slaves of ourselves, slaves of so many idols, slaves of so many things. Our resurrection begins here: when we decide to obey the commands of Jesus to come into the light, to life; when the masks fall from our faces — so many times we are masked by sin: the masks must fall! — and we rediscover the courage of our original faces, created in the image and likeness of God.
The act of Jesus by which He raised Lazarus demonstrates the end to which the power of the Grace of God can arrive, and the end, therefore to which our conversion, our change can arrive. But listen well: there is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! Remember this phrase. And we can all say it together: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” Let us say it together: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” The Lord is always ready to take away the tombstone of our sins, which separate us from Him, the light of the living.
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Tomorrow in Rwanda the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the genocide against the Tutsi people will take place. On this occasion I want to express my paternal closeness to the Rwandan people, encouraging them to continue, with determination and hope, the process of reconciliation that has already manifested its fruits, and the commitment to the human and spiritual reconstruction of the country. To all of you I say: Do not be afraid! Construct your society on the rock of the Gospel, on love and concord, because only in this way can an enduring peace be produced. I invoke upon the dear Rwandan nation the maternal protection of Our Lady of Kibeho. I remember with affection the Rwandan bishops who were here in the Vatican this past week. And I invite all of you here, now, to pray to the Madonna, Our Lady of Kibeho.
[The Pope lead the crowd in a ‘Hail Mary.’]
I greet all the pilgrims present, in particular the participants in the Congress of the “Movimento di Impegno Educativo” [Movement for Educational Commitment] of Italian Catholic Action. Investing in education means investing in hope.
I greet the faithful of Madrid and of Menorca; [the faithful] of the Diocese of Concordia-Pordenone [in Italy]; the Brazilian group “Fraternidade e tráfico humano;” the students from Canada, from Australia, from Belgium and those from Cartagena-Murcia; the “alpine” [mountaineers] from Como and from Rome.
I greet the groups of young people who have received or who are preparing for Confirmation, the youth of various parishes, and the numerous students.
Exactly five years have passed since the earthquake that struck L’Aquila and the surrounding area. In this moment we want to unite ourselves to that community which has suffered so much, that still suffers, struggles, and hopes, with such confidence in God and in the Madonna. Let us pray for all the victims, who live forever in the peace of the Lord. And let us pray for the journey of resurrection of the people of L’Aquila: that solidarity and spiritual renewal might be the strength of material reconstruction.
Let us pray also for the victims of the Ebola virus, which has spread in Guinea and in the bordering countries. May the Lord support the efforts combatting the beginnings of this epidemic and ensuring care and assistance for all the needy.
And now I want to make a simple gesture for you. Last Sunday I suggested that all of you should obtain a little book of the Gospels, to carry with you during the day, that can be read often. And then I thought about the ancient tradition of the Church, of giving a book of the Gospels, during Lent, to the catechumens, to those preparing for Baptism. So today I want to offer to you who are here in the Piazza — but as a sign for everyone — a pocket Gospel book. It is distributed to you free of charge. There are places in the Piazza for the distribution… I see them there… there… there… there, there, there. Go to these places and take the Gospel. Take it, carry it with you, and read it every day: it is Jesus Himself Who is speaking to you. It is the Word of Jesus: this is the Word of Jesus.
And as He said, I say too: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give!” Give the message of the Gospel! But maybe one or the other of you doesn’t believe this is really free. “But how much is this? What do I have to pay Father?” But let us do something in exchange for this gift: perform an act of charity, a gesture of love given freely, a prayer for an enemy, a reconciliation, something. Today you can also read the Gospel on so many technological devices. You can take the whole Bible with you on a phone, on a tablet. The important thing is to read the Word of God, by any means, but read the Word of God: It is Jesus Who speaks to us there. And welcome it with an open heart. Then the good seed will bear fruit!
I wish you a happy Sunday, and a ‘buon pranzo!’ Arrivederci!
Pope Francis at Mass: Be vigilant of dictatorship of thought
(Vatican Radio) "Even today there is a dictatorship of a narrow line of thought" that kills "people’s freedom, their freedom of conscience": we must be "vigilant and pray", said Pope Francis at morning Mass Thursday.
God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, but he and his descendants will have to observe the Covenant with the Lord. Pope Francis’ homily takes its cue from the first reading of the day to explain the end of Christ’s message to the Pharisees: their mistake – he notes - was to "detach the commandments from the heart of God". They thought it enough to merely keep the commandments, but these - the Pope said - "are not just a cold law", because they are born from a relationship of love and are "indications" that help us avoid mistakes in our journey to meet Jesus. So, the Pharisees who close their hearts and minds "to all things new," do not understand "the path of hope". "This is the drama of the closed heart, the drama of the closed mind - the Pope said - and when the heart is closed, this heart closes the mind , and when the heart and mind are closed there is no place for God", but only for what we believe should be done .
Instead , "the commandments carry a promise and the prophets wake this promise up". How many have closed heart and mind, how many cannot accept the "new message" brought by Jesus, "which is what was promised by the faithfulness of God and the prophets. But they do not understand".
"It is a closed way of thinking that is not open to dialogue, to the possibility that there is something else, the possibility that God speaks to us, tells us about His journey, as he did to the prophets. These people did not listen to the prophets and did not listen to Jesus. It is something greater than a mere stubbornness. No, it is more: it is the idolatry of their own way of thinking. 'I think this, it has to be this way, and nothing more'. These people had a narrow line of thought and wanted to impose this way of thinking on the people of God, Jesus rebukes them for this: ' You burden the people with many commandments and you do not touch them with your finger'".
Jesus' “rebukes their incoherence". "The theology of these people - the Pope notes - becomes a slave to this pattern, this pattern of thought: a narrow line of thought".
"There is no possibility of dialogue, there is no possibility to open up to new things which God brings with the prophets. They killed the prophets, these people; they close the door to the promise of God. When this phenomenon of narrow thinking enters human history, how many misfortunes. We all saw in the last century, the dictatorships of narrow thought , which ended up killing a lot of people, but when they believed they were the overlords, no other form of though was allowed. This is the way they think”.
"Even today - the Pope said - there is the idolatry of a narrow line of thought".
"Today we have to think in this way and if you do not think in this way, you are not modern, you're not open or worse. Often rulers say : 'I have asked for aid, financial support for this' , ' But if you want this help, you have to think in this way and you have to pass this law, and this other law and this other law…' Even today there is a dictatorship of a narrow line of thought and this dictatorship is the same as these people: it takes up stones to stone the freedom of the people, the freedom of the people, their freedom of conscience, the relationship of the people with God. Today Jesus is Crucified once again”.
The Lord’s exhortation "faced with this dictatorship - said the Pope - is always the same: be vigilant and pray; do not be silly , do not buy" things "you do not need, be humble and pray, that the Lord always gives us the freedom of an open heart, to receive his Word which is joy and promise and covenant! And with this covenant move forward!"
"We have the Holy Spirit within us, in our heart; we can listen to Him or not listen to Him"
Vatican City, April 09, 2014 (Zenit.org)
Here is a translation of the Holy Father’s catechesis given at today's general audience in St. Peter's Square. He began today a new series of catechesis, taking up the theme of the Holy Spirit.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
We begin today a series of catecheses on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You know that the Holy Spirit constitutes the soul, the vital lymph of the Church and of every individual Christian: He is the Love of God who makes our heart His dwelling and enters into communion with us. The Holy Spirit is always with us, in us, in our heart.
The Spirit himself is “the gift of God” par excellence (cf. John 4:10), He is a gift of God who in turn communicates different spiritual gifts to one who receives Him. The Church singles out seven, a number which symbolically means fullness, completeness; they are those that are learned when we prepare ourselves for the Sacrament of Confirmation and which we invoke in the ancient prayer called the Sequence of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.
1. According to this list, the first gift of the Holy Spirit is, therefore, wisdom. However, it is not simply about human wisdom, which is the fruit of knowledge and experience. The Bible recounts that Solomon, at the moment of his crowning as King of Israel, asked for the gift of wisdom (cf. 1 Kings 3:9). And wisdom in fact is this: It is the grace to be able to see everything with the eyes of God. It is simply this: to see the world, to see situations, circumstances, problems, everything with God’s eyes. This is wisdom. Sometimes we see things according to how they please us or according to the situation of our heart, with love or with hatred, with envy … No, this is not God’s eye. Wisdom is what the Holy Spirit does in us so that we see all things with God’s eyes. This is the gift of wisdom.
2. And this obviously stems from intimacy with God, from the intimate relationship that we have with God, from the relationship of children with the Father. When we have this relationship, the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of wisdom. When we are in communion with the Lord, it is as if the Holy Spirit transfigures our heart and makes it perceive all His warmth and predilection.
3. Then the Holy Spirit renders the Christian “wise.” This, however, not in the sense that he has an answer for everything, that he knows everything, but in the sense that he “knows” of God, he knows how God acts, he knows when something is of God and when it is not of God; he has this wisdom which God gives to our hearts. In this sense, the heart of the wise man has the taste and flavor of God. And how important it is that such Christians be in our communities! Everything in them speaks of God and becomes a beautiful and living sign of His presence and His love. And this is something we cannot improvise, which we cannot acquire by ourselves: It is a gift that God gives those who are docile to the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit within us, in our heart; we can listen to Him or not listen to Him. If we listen to the Holy Spirit, He teaches us this way of wisdom, He gives us wisdom which is to see with God’s eyes, to hear with God’s ears, to love with God’s heart, to judge things with God’s judgment. This is the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives us, and we can all have it, we only need to ask the Holy Spirit for it.
Think of a mother at home with the children, that when one does something, the other thinks of something else, and the poor mother goes from one place to the other with the problems of the children. And when mothers are tired and shout at the children, is that wisdom? To shout at children – I ask you – is that wisdom? What do you say: is it wisdom or not? No! Instead, when the Mother picks up the child and reproves him gently and says to him: “This isn’t done because …”, and she explains it to him with much patience, is this the wisdom of God? Yes! It is what the Holy Spirit gives us in life! Then in marriage, for instance, the two spouses – the husband and the wife – quarrel, and then they don’t look at each other, or if they do look at one another they do so with a cross face: is this the wisdom of God? No! Instead they say: “well, the storm has passed, let’s make peace,” and they begin again to go forward in peace: is this wisdom? [the people: Yes!] See, this is the gift of wisdom. May it come to the home, may it come with the children, may it come with all of us!
And this is not learned: it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must ask the Lord to give us the Holy Spirit and the gift of wisdom, that wisdom of God that teaches us to look with God’s eyes, to feel with God’s heart, to speak with God’s words. And so, with this wisdom we go forward, we build the family, we build the Church, and we are all sanctified. Let us ask today for the grace of wisdom. And let us ask Our Lady, who is the Seat of Wisdom, for this gift: may she give us this grace. Thank you!
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Today we begin a series of catecheses on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is himself the “gift of God” (cf. Jn 4:10), the presence of God’s love in the Church and in our hearts. Based on a messianic prophecy of Isaiah, the Church has traditionally distinguished seven gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. The first of these is wisdom. As a spiritual gift, this wisdom is an interior light, a grace enabling us to contemplate all things with the eyes of God and a heart docile to the promptings of the Spirit. Born of closeness to God in prayer and loving communion, it helps us to recognize with joyful gratitude his providential plan for all things. Christian wisdom is thus the fruit of a supernatural “taste” for God, an ability to savour his presence, goodness and love all around us. How much our world needs the witness of such wisdom today! Let us pray for this gift, so that, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, we can be true men and women of God, transparently open to his own wisdom and the power of his saving love.
Pope Francis (In Italian):
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Philippines, Zimbabwe, Australia and the United States. Upon you and your families I invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit for a fruitful celebration of this coming Holy Week. God bless you all!
Last Monday, at Homs in Syria, the Reverend Father Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit confrere of mine, 75, was killed. He arrived in Syria about 50 years ago, and always did good to everyone, with gratuitousness and love, and therefore was loved and esteemed by Christians and Muslims.
His brutal murder has filled me with profound grief and has made me think again of the many people who suffer and die in that martyred country, my beloved Syria, already for too long prey of a bloody conflict, which continues to sow death and destruction. I think also of the numerous persons kidnapped, Christians and Muslims, Syrians and foreigners, among who are Bishops and Priests. Let us pray to the Lord that they may soon be able to return to their dear ones and to their families and communities.
I invite all from my heart to join me in prayer for peace in Syria and in the region, and I make a heartbroken appeal to Syrian leaders and to the international community: please, silence the arms, put an end to the violence! No more war! No more destruction! May humanitarian rights be respected, may care be taken of the population in need of humanitarian aid and may the desired peace be attained through dialogue and reconciliation. Let us ask our Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, to give us this gift for Syria and let us all pray together: Ave Maria …
* * *
To the Italian pilgrims: I welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims! I welcome the participants in the competition promoted by the Vicariate of the Latin Patriarchate in Israel; the members of the Organizing Committee of the 4th Centenary of the birth of Pope Innocent XII and the National Council of Industrial Experts. I greet the parish groups, in particular the faithful of Foggia, Scafa and Borgo Tossignano, and the Associations of Support to the Sick and Children: L’Arche, Starbene, AIdel22, Anidan and Magi Euregio. Finally, I greet the Association of Tax Consultants, the delegation of the Military Navy and the relatives of the military men in foreign missions. May the pilgrimage to the See of Peter help you to cultivate that wisdom which God alone can give.
A special thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. We are living the time of grace of Lent. Dear young people do not tire of asking for God’s forgiveness in Confession! Dear sick, unite your sufferings to those of the Cross of Christ. And you, dear newlyweds, vie with one another in forgiveness and in mutual help. Thank you.
[Translation by ZENIT]
(April 09, 2014) © Innovative Media Inc.
Pope Francis: Human Trafficking, an open wound on society
(Vatican Radio) “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity”: These were the strong words that Pope Francis addressed to participants at the Conference on Combating Human Trafficking Thursday.
The conference is the brainchild of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales in collaboration with the UK Police Force and was hosted by the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences. Thanking Card. Vincent Nichols, the Pope noted that the meeting also draws on the expertise of law enforcement authorities, who he said: “are primarily responsible for combating this tragic reality by a vigorous application of the law”.
But- continued Pope Francis - “it also includes humanitarian and social workers, whose task it is to provide victims with welcome, human warmth and the possibility of building a new life. These are two different approaches, but they can and must go together”.
One of the participants at the conference is Nigerian Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of Abuja. He has been engaged in the battle against human trafficking for decades together with missionaries, religious and lay activists whom he calls the real “foot soldiers”.
Listen to Vatican Radio’s interview with Cardinal Onaiyekan:
He told participants: “The Gospel of God’s mercy, freedom and love, preached by the Church, is rejected in practice, with human beings being treated as slaves”.
“The Church has a responsibility on all levels,” he said. “When we see young boys and girls being sold for money, believing that money will lead to a good life, we need to start teaching them about what real freedom is about, what true happiness is about and what the true meaning of life is.”
Below please find Pope Francis’ address to Participants at the Conference on Combating Human Trafficking
Greeting of the Holy Father
Conference on Combating Human Trafficking
Thursday, 10 April 2014
Brother Bishops and Priests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I greet each of you participating in this Conference, the second such gathering held here in the Vatican to promote united efforts against human trafficking. I thank Cardinal Nichols and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for organizing this meeting, and the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences for hosting it.
Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity. The very fact of our being here to combine our efforts means that we want our strategies and areas of expertise to be accompanied and reinforced by the mercy of the Gospel, by closeness to the men and women who are victims of this crime.
Our meeting today includes law enforcement authorities, who are primarily responsible for combating this tragic reality by a vigorous application of the law. It also includes humanitarian and social workers, whose task it is to provide victims with welcome, human warmth and the possibility of building a new life. These are two different approaches, but they can and must go together. To dialogue and exchange views on the basis of these two complementary approaches is quite important. Conferences such as this are extremely helpful, and, I would say, much needed.
I believe that one important sign of this is the fact that, one year after your first meeting, you have regrouped from throughout the world in order to advance your common efforts. I thank you for your readiness to work together. I pray that our Lord will assist you and that Our Lady will watch over you.
Pope Francis: Satan exists in the 21st century and how we can fight him
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Satan exists in our present century and we must learn from the Gospel how to fight against his temptations. This was the core message of his homily at the Mass celebrated on Friday in the Santa Marta residence.
Pope Francis said the life of every Christian is a constant battle against evil just as Jesus during his life had to struggle against the devil and his many temptations. And he warned that whoever wants to follow Jesus must be aware of this reality.
“We too are tempted, we too are the target of attacks by the devil because the spirit of Evil does not want our holiness, he does not want our Christian witness, he does not want us to be disciples of Christ. And what does the Spirit of Evil do, through his temptations, to distance us from the path of Jesus? The temptation of the devil has three characteristics and we need to learn about them in order not to fall into the trap. What does Satan do to distance us from the path of Jesus? Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing. Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community. And in the end, in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself. It grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.”
Turning to the bible, the Pope recalled how Jesus’s first temptation by Satan was almost ‘like a seduction.’ Satan told Jesus to throw himself down from the Temple so that all the people will see that he is the Messiah! And warned the Pope, when the devil is rejected, he grows and comes back stronger than before. Jesus himself noted this in the gospel when the devil went around looking for companions and with them returned to Jesus. Satan got involved with Jesus’s enemies and what seemed at first like a calm trickle of water turned into a flood of water. In this way, the temptation grows, infects others and justifies itself. As an illustration, the Pope recalled how when Jesus preached in the synagogue, his enemies belittled him by saying “but isn’t this the son of Joseph, the carpenter, the son of Mary. He never studied so with what authority can he speak?
“We have a temptation that grows: it grows and infects others. For example, let’s look at gossip: I’m a bit envious of this or that person and at first I’m just envious inside and I need to share it and go to another person and say: “But have you seen that person?’.. and this gossip tries to grow and infects another and another… This is the way gossip works and all of us have been tempted to gossip! Maybe not one of you, if you’re a saint , but I too have been tempted to gossip! It’s a daily temptation. And it begins in this way, discreetly, like a trickle of water. It grows by infecting others and in the end it justifies itself.”
Pope Francis concluded by urging people to be vigilant and not to give in to that initial temptation and thus allow it to spread to others and justify itself.
“We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life is a struggle: a struggle. That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ. Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here… even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”
Pope Francis on clerical sexual abuse:
(Vatican Radio) “I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children.
The Church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the Church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children”.This was Pope Francis' clear message to members of BICE [International Catholic Child Bureau] whom he received Friday in audience at the Vatican.
BICE is a Catholic NGO that works to protect the rights and dignity of the child worldwide. Speaking to them, Pope Francis also spoke about the need to reaffirm the rights of parents to decide “the moral and religious education of their children” and reject all forms of “educational experimentation with children and young people”.
He said that it is every child’s right to grow up in a family “with a father and a mother” capable of creating “a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity”. The Pope also called for an end to what he termed as “educational experiments” with children and young people, pushing a “dictatorship of one form of thinking” on them in the name of a pretended “modernity”.
The Pope noted that the “horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared; they have retained a current relevance under various guises and proposals”.
To counter this he urged the BICE members to foster a true anthropological formation of the child respectful of the reality of the person, to enable children and young people to respond to the problems and challenges posed by contemporary culture and widespread mentality propagated by the mass media.
Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s address to participants:
I thank you for this meeting. I appreciate your efforts on behalf of children: it is a concrete and current expression of the predilection that the Lord Jesus has for them .
We can say that the BICE was born of the motherhood of the Church . In fact, it originates from Pope Pius XII intervention in defense of children in the aftermath of World War II. Since then, this organization has always been committed to promoting the protection of children's rights, and to contributing to the 1989 UN Convention. And in this his work it constantly collaborates with the Holy See offices of the in New York, in Strasbourg and especially Geneva .
[moving away from script speech]…. I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children. The Church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the Church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children...
In our days, it is important to carry out the projects against slave - labor, against the recruitment of child soldiers and all forms of violence against children. On a positive note, we must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity .
At the same time, this implies supporting the right of parents to decide the moral and religious education of their children. And in this regard I would like to express my rejection of any kind of educational experimentation with children. We cannot experiment with children and young people. The horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared; they have retained a current relevance under various guises and proposals and, with the pretense of modernity, push children and young people to walk on the dictatorial path of "only one form of thought".
[moving away from script speech] “A week ago a great teacher said to me… ‘with these education projects I don’t know if we’re sending the kids to school or a re-education camp’…”
Working for human rights presupposes the aim of fostering anthropological formation, of being well prepared on the reality of the human person, and knowing how to respond to the problems and challenges posed by contemporary culture and widespread mentality propagated by the mass media.
[moving away from script speech] Obviously this does not mean we should cover them with forms of protection that are superseded today because they belong to a past culture…Not this, this is no good…we should propose the positive values of the human person the new culture…
For you, this means offering your managers and operators continuing formation on the anthropology of the child, because that is where the rights and obligations have their foundation . It is upon this that the formation of educational projects rest.
[moving away from script speech] These projects obviously must progress, mature and accommodate itself to the signs of the times always remember human identity and freedom of conscience…
Thank you again. I wish you a ‘Buon lavoro’!
Pope's Address to Italian Pro-Life Movement
"the unborn in the maternal womb is the innocent one par excellence"
Vatican City, April 11, 2014 (Zenit.org)
Here is a translation of the Pope’s address today to representatives from the Italian Pro-Life Movement.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I give my cordial welcome to each one of you. I greet the Honorable Carlo Casini and I thank him for his words, but above all I express my gratitude to him for all the work he has done for many years in the Pro-Life Movement. I hope that when the Lord calls him it will be the children who open the door for him up there! I greet the Presidents of the Centers of Aid to Life and those responsible for various services, in particular of the “Gemma Project,” which in these 20 years has made possible, through a particular form of concrete solidarity, the birth of so many children who otherwise would not have seen the light. Thank you for the witness you give promoting and defending human life from its conception!
We know it, human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right rests on the recognition of the first and fundamental right of life, which is not subordinated to any condition, either qualitative or economic and least of all ideological.
“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not kill’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. ... Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading. (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 53). And so life is also discarded.
One of the gravest risks to which our time is exposed is the divorce between economy and morality, between the possibilities offered by a market furnished with every technological novelty and the elementary norms of human nature, ever more neglected. Therefore, it is necessary to confirm the firmest opposition to every direct attempt against life, especially innocent and vulnerable life, and the unborn in the maternal womb is the innocent one par excellence. We recall the words of Vatican Council II: “Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.” (Constitution Gaudium et spes, 51). I recall that once, a long time ago, I had a conference with doctors. After the conference I greeted the doctors – this happened so long ago. I was greeting the doctors, talking with them, and one called me aside. He had a package and he said to me: “Father, I want to leave this with you. These are the instruments that I have used to cause abortion. I have found the Lord, I have repented, and I now fight for life.” He gave me all these instruments. Pray for this good man!
For one who is a Christian, this evangelical witness must always be given: to protect life with courage and love in all its phases. I encourage you to do so always with the style of closeness, of proximity: so that every woman feels regarded as a person, heard, received and supported.
We spoke of children: there are so many! But I would also like to talk of grandparents, the other part of life! -- because we must also take care of grandparents, because children and grandparents are the hope of a people. The children, the young people, because they carry it forward, they will carry these people forward; and the grandparents because they have the wisdom of history, they are the memory of a people. To protect life at a time when children and grandparents enter in this throw-away culture and are thought of as material to be discarded. No! Children and grandparents are the hope of a people!
Dear brothers and sisters may the Lord support the action you engage in as Centers of Aid to Life and as a Pro-Life Movement, in particular the project “One of Us.” I entrust you to the celestial intercession of the Virgin Mother Mary and, from my heart, I bless you and your families, your children, and your grandparents, and pray for me as I need it!
When speaking of life, the memory of the mother comes immediately <to mind>. Let us turn to our Mother; may she may protect us all. Ave Maria.
One last thing. For me, when children cry, when children lament, when they shout, it is a most beautiful music. But some children cry because they are hungry. Please give them to eat here calmly!
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]
(April 11, 2014) © Innovative Media Inc.
07/20/2014 - VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East
"May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - This Sunday at the Angelus, Pope Francis invited all to pray for "situations of tension and conflict that persist in different parts of the world especially in the Middle East and Ukraine". The Pope said he had learned with "concern the news coming from the Christian communities in Mosul (Iraq) and in other parts of the Middle East, where, from the very beginning of Christianity, they have lived with their fellow citizens, providing a significant contribution the good of society". "Today - he continued - they are our persecuted brothers and sisters. They are being forced to leave their homes and leave everything behind. I assure these families and these people that I am close to them. I am with you who are persecuted, I know how you suffer I know you are stripped of everything, I am with you in faith in the One who has conquered evil. To all of you here in the square and those who follow us I invite you to continue in prayer. May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and of reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace ".
The Pope was referring to the situation of persecution that the patriarch of the Syro-Catholic Church, Ignace Joseph III Younan described when he reported that "the archbishopric in Mosul was totally burnt, all of the manuscripts, the library," while the few remaining Christians were forced to convert to 'Islam, pay the jizya, the heavy tax levied on infidels, or be killed.
Before the Marian prayer, the Pope spoke of the parable of the wheat and the weeds" commenting on how in Hebrew the term has the same root as the name Satan and invokes the concept of division. We know that the devil is a 'weed' who wants to divide the people. The servants want to pluck the weeds, but the Master prevents this reasoning: " No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them " (Mt 13, 29) ".
"The scene - the Pope said - takes place in a field where the master sows wheat, but one night the enemy comes and sows weeds in the dark. The lesson of the parable is twofold. Firstly it says that the evil in the world is not God's work, but that of his enemy, the devil. This enemy is cunning: he sowed evil in the middle of good, so that it is impossible to clearly separate them, but God, in the end, can".
"And here we come to the second theme: the contrast between the impatience of servants and the patient waiting of the master of the field, who represents God. We sometimes are in a hurry to judge, classify, put the good to one side, the bad to another... But remember the prayer of the proud man, thank you God because I am so good ... but God knows how to wait. He looks at the 'field' of the life of every person with patience and mercy: He sees filth and evil much better than us, but He also sees the seeds of good and waits with confidence for them to mature. God is patient and waits. Our God is a patient father waiting for us to forgive us. He always forgives us if we go to Him ..The master's attitude is that of hope founded on the certainty that evil has neither the first nor the last word. And it is thanks to this patient hope of God that the same weeds in the end, can become good wheat. But beware: patience is not evangelical indifference to evil you cannot confuse good and evil! In front of the weeds present in the world, the disciples of the Lord are called to imitate the patience of God, nourish the hope with the support of an unshakable faith in the ultimate victory of good, that is of God, In fact, in the end evil will be removed and disposed of at the time of the harvest, that is, the judgment, the reapers will execute the master's order and separate the tares to be burned (cf. Mt 13:30). "
"On that harvest day Jesus will be the final judge, the One who sowed good seeds in the world and who himself became a 'grain of wheat', who died and rose again. Eventually we will all be judged by the same standard with which we judged: the mercy that we had towards others will also be used toward us. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin, our Mother, to help us to grow in patience, hope and mercy".
Pope: A true pastor, a true prophet, knows how to "speak, do, and listen"
06/25/2015 - VATICAN
Beware of "pseudo-Christians" and “pseudo-prophets". "It’s true, they do good things, it is true, but they lack the rock”. They lack "the rock of the love of God, the rock of the Word of God." And without this rock "they cannot prophesy, they cannot build: they pretend, because in the end everything collapses." An example of our day is Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who "did not speak, and was able to listen in silence" and "did so much."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Speak, do and hear" are the three words that distinguish true from false prophets. And people perceive, knows "when a priest, a bishop, a catechist, a Christian has the consistency that gives him authority", as was Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The pope said Francis homily of the Mass celebrated this morning in Casa Santa Marta, inspired by the Gospel passage today in which the people follow Jesus amazed because He teaches as one who had authority, and not as the scribes
Francis said Jesus "admonishes his disciples" to beware of "false prophets." He then explains how to discern "where there are true prophets and where there are pseudo-prophets", "where are the true preachers of the Gospel and where are those who preach a gospel that is not the Gospel."
There are three key words to understanding this, the Pope said: "Speaking, doing and listening. Referring to Jesus’ words that “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven”, the Pope said that despite their ability to speak, they lack the ability to practice what they preach and to listen.. When Jesus warns the people to watch out for the ‘pseudo-prophets’, he says: ‘By their fruits, you will know them’. “And here, from their behavior: so many words, they speak, they do wonders, they do great things but do not have their hearts open to listen to the Word of God, they fear the silence of the World of God and these are the ‘pseudo-Christians’, the ‘pseudo-pastors’. It is true, they do good things, it’s true, but they lack the rock"
Instead, "those who listen to these words but do not make them their own, who do not really listen and act on them will be like the one who builds his house on sand." And "we know the result." "When Jesus warns people to beware of ‘pseudo-prophets ', he says: 'By their fruits you shall know them'. And here, by their attitude: they speak so many words, they do wonders, they do great things but they do not have an open heart to hear the Word of God, they are afraid of the silence of the word of God and these are the 'pesudo- Christians', the 'pseudo-pastors’'. It’s true, they do good things, it is true, but they lacks the rock. "They lack the rock of the love of God, the rock of the Word of God." And without this rock "they cannot prophesy, they cannot build: they pretend, because in the end everything collapses." "They are the 'pseudo-pastors', worldly shepherds, pastors or Christians also who talk too much, they are afraid of silence, they may be do too much. But they are unable to listen, they act on their own words, the act on their own, they do not act according to God”.
"We remember these three words, are a sign: doing, listening, speaking. One that knows how to listen and from listening, with the strength of word of another and not from their own, can remain balanced. Though they may be a humble person, that does not seem important, but how many of these great ones there are in the Church! How many great bishops, how many great priests, how many great faithful who know how to listening and from listening, they act".
An example of our day, said the Pope, is Mother Teresa of Calcutta who "did not speak, and was able to listen in silence" and "has done so much! Neither she, nor her work collapsed". The Pope concluded, “May the weakness of Jesus, who though strong made himself weak to make us strong, accompany us in this celebration and teach us to listen and to act from listening, not from our words".
General Audience: On Family Wounds
“Everything is connected together in the family: when its spirit is wounded in some point, the infection contaminates everyone."
Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s address at the general audience held this morning in St. Peter’s Square.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In the last catecheses we spoke about the family that lives the frailties of the human condition: poverty, sickness, death. Today, instead, we reflect on the wounds that are opened in fact within the family’s coexistence. When, that is, harm is done in the family itself -- a most awful thing!
We are well aware that no moments are lacking in any family history in which the intimacy of dearest affections is offended by the behavior of its members. Words and actions (and omissions!) that, instead of expressing love, subtract or, even worse still, mortify it. When these wounds, which are still remediable, are neglected, they worsen: they are transformed into arrogance, hostility, contempt. And at a certain point they can become profound lacerations, which divide husband and wife, and induce to seeking understanding, support and consolation elsewhere. However, often these “supports” do not think of the good of the family.
The deprivation of conjugal love spreads resentment in relations, and often the break-up falls on the children.
See, the children. I would like to reflect somewhat on this point. Notwithstanding our seemingly evolved sensibility, and all our refined psychological analyses, I wonder if we are not also anesthetized in regard to the wounds of children’s soul. The more one tries to compensate with presents and little snacks, all the more the sense is lost of the most painful and profound wounds of the soul. We talk a lot about behavioral disturbances, psychic health, the child’s well-being, of anxiety of parents and children ... but do we yet know what a wound of the soul is? Do we feel the weight of the mountain that crushes the soul of a child, in families in which there is bad treatment and harm is done, to the point of breaking the bond of conjugal fidelity? In our choices -- mistaken choices, for example -- how much weight does the soul of the children have? When adults lose their head, when each one thinks only of him/herself, when father and mother harm one another, the soul of the child suffers much, he experiences a sense of desperation. And they are wounds that leave their mark for the whole of life.
Everything is connected together in the family: when its spirit is wounded in some point, the infection contaminates everyone. And when a man and a woman, who committed themselves to be “one flesh” and to form a family, think obsessively of their own needs of freedom and gratification, this distortion profoundly damages the heart and life of the children. So many times children hide to cry by themselves. We must understand this well. Husband and wife are one flesh, but their children are flesh of their flesh. If we think of the harshness with which Jesus admonishes adults not to scandalize the little ones -- we heard the passage of the Gospel -- (cf. Matthew 18:6), we can also understand better his word on the grave responsibility to protect the conjugal bond that begins the human family (cf. Matthew 19:6-9). When man and woman have become one flesh, all the wounds and all the abandonments of the father and the mother affect the living flesh of the children.
On the other hand, it is true that there are cases in which separation is inevitable. Sometimes it can even become morally necessary, when in fact it is a question of removing the weaker spouse, or little children, from the gravest wounds caused by arrogance and violence, humiliation and exploitation, estrangement and indifference.
Not lacking, thank God, are those that, sustained by faith and love of the children, witnesses their fidelity to a bond in which they believed, although it seems impossible to revive. Not all those who are separated, however, feel this vocation. Not all recognize, in solitude, an appeal of the Lord addressed to them. We find around us different families in so-called irregular situations -- I don’t like this word -- and we ask ourselves many questions. How can we help them? How can we support them? How can we support them so that the children do not become hostages of the father or of the mother?
Let us ask the Lord for great faith, to look at reality with God’s gaze; and a great charity, to approach persons with his merciful heart.
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]
Dear Brothers and Sisters: We know well that every family on occasion suffers moments when one family member offends another. Through our words, actions, or omissions, instead of expressing love for our spouse or children, we can sometimes diminish or demean that love. Hiding these hurts only deepens such wounds, leading to anger and friction between loved ones. If these wounds are particularly deep, they can even lead a spouse to search for understanding elsewhere, to the detriment of the family, especially children. Being one flesh, any wounds that spouses suffer are shared by their children, born of their flesh. When we remember how Jesus warned adults not to scandalize little ones (cf. Mt 18:6), we better understand the vital responsibility to maintain and protect the bond of marriage which is the foundation of the human family. We thank God that although these wounds may lead some to separation, even then many men and women remain true to their conjugal bond, sustained by faith and by love for their children. For those who enter into so-called irregular situations, we must reflect on how best to help and accompany them in their lives. Let us ask the Lord for a strong faith to see with his eyes the reality of family life, and for a deep love to approach all families with his merciful heart.
Pope Francis (In Italian):
I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Sweden, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, the Islands of the Bahamas, Canada and the United States. May Jesus Christ heal every wound present in the life of your families, and may he make you witnesses of his mercy and love. May God bless you all!
Having just returned from Turin, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Turin and Piedmont for their warm hospitality. I thank particularly His Excellency Monsignor Cesare Nosiglia, Archbishop of Turin, the priests, the consecrated persons, all the Bishops of Piedmont for their earnest participation. A special thought goes to the sick of the Cottolengo, who with the offer of their sufferings sustain the life of the Church. I thank from my heart the numerous young people for their daring, their witness and their desire to live the values of the Gospel. I would likewise like to thank the civil authorities, the Forces of Order, the volunteers, the Associations, the Movements, the regional, provincial and communal administrations, the world of work and all the persons that contributed to the realization of my visit, on the occasion of the exposition of the Shroud and of the bicentenary of the birth of Saint John Bosco. Dear people of Turin, I truly felt at home, embraced by your affection and your hospitality. May the Lord bless you all and your beautiful city.
I give a cordial welcome to the Italian-speaking faithful. I am happy to receive the pilgrimage of the Dioceses of Gorizia, led by the Bishop, Monsignor Carlo Roberto Redaelli; the members of the Faith and Light Association; and the Mixed Working Group between the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Council of Churches. I greet the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood; the “Little Daughters of Saint Joseph” Congregation; the Orione Lay Movement; the Italian Beekeepers Federation and the Pilgrims of the Via Francigena. I greet the parish groups, in particular the faithful of Mazzarino, Martinengo and Pignola. I hope that this meeting will nourish the faith of all, give new impetus to hope and render charity fruitful.
I give a special greeting to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. Dear young people, in particular you, the Confirmation candidates of Saluzzo, and you of the “Saint Francis” Youth Movement of Piazza Armerina, may the evangelical radicalism of the Precursor drive you to make courageous choices for the good; dear sick, may his strength sustain you in carrying the cross in spiritual union with the heart of Christ; dear newlyweds, may his bond with the Lamb help you to unite your family in love.
[Translation by ZENIT]
A Church Seeking Justice: The Challenge of Pope Francis to the Church in Canada
Thursday, September 03 2015
(CCCB – Ottawa)... The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has published a new resource entitled A Church Seeking Justice: The Challenge of Pope Francis to the Church in Canada. Since his election as Bishop of Rome, the Holy Father "has brought an immediacy and specificity to Catholic social teaching that has made it a strong mark of his pontificate thus far," states the Episcopal Commission in its text which was released today. Dealing broadly with the themes of Human Dignity and Labour, War and Peace, and the Economics of Exclusion and Isolation, this document outlines the freshness and urgency with which Pope Francis is calling us to act for justice and offers reflection questions tailored to our Canadian context.
Throughout the document, in text boxes, the Bishops of the Episcopal Commission "have sought to make connections between the Holy Father's teaching and some of the justice issues needing to be addressed in our own cities and nation." Although not exhaustive, the issues raised concern the disappearance of indigenous women, euthanasia, the welcoming of refugees, temporary foreign workers, income disparity, unemployment among Aboriginal youth and youth in general, the arms trade, peacekeeping, Canadian mining companies abroad, international assistance, poverty, the environment (the text was completed before the release of Laudato Si'), and the concept of the common good.
The Bishops invite readers to "listen to the challenging voice of Pope Francis, and to make connections between that teaching and the world around you in the particulars of your lives, your places of work, your parishes and communities, with eyes especially attentive to those in greatest need."
For Pope Francis, "the Church's social teaching – about those in poverty or afflicted by other forms of suffering, about economic injustice, and about war and peace – [rises] directly out of the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus Christ. He consistently and strongly sets his reflections on justice and mercy within a framework of faithfulness to Christ." The Commission document also highlights how the Holy Father knows how to give a face to the poor by his gestures and his pastoral visits. "By pointing to real people and specific situations, Pope Francis highlights the urgency of the present moment, and invites an energetic and emotional response to counter the 'globalization of indifference' which has developed."
Last Updated on Thursday, September 03 2015
Pope Francis at daily Mass: Christians persecuted in silence
2015-09-07 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence, with the recently-elected Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, His Beatitude Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan, as well as with the Bishops of Synod of the Apostolic Armenian Catholic Church and the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri.
Click below to hear our report
In remarks following the readings of the day, the Holy Father spoke of the many Christians, who continue to be persecuted, and of the complicit silence of many powerful world leaders. Even today, “Perhaps more than in the early days,” said Pope Francis, [Christians] are persecuted, killed, driven out, despoiled, only because they are Christians”:
“Dear brothers and sisters, there is no Christianity without persecution. Remember the last of the Beatitudes: when they bring you into the synagogues, and persecute you, revile you, this is the fate of a Christian. Today too, this happens before the whole world, with the complicit silence of many powerful leaders who could stop it. We are facing this Christian fate: go on the same path of Jesus.”
The Pope recalled, “One of many great persecutions: that of the Armenian people”:
“The first nation to convert to Christianity: the first. They were persecuted just for being Christians,” he said. “The Armenian people were persecuted, chased away from their homeland, helpless, in the desert.” This story - he observed - began with Jesus: what people did, “to Jesus, has during the course of history been done to His body, which is the Church.”
“Today,” the Holy Father continued, “I would like, on this day of our first Eucharist, as brother Bishops, dear brother Bishops and Patriarch and all of you Armenian faithful and priests, to embrace you and remember this persecution that you have suffered, and to remember your holy ones, your many saints who died of hunger, in the cold, under torture, [cast] into the wilderness only for being Christians.”
The Holy Father also remembered the broader persecution of Christians in the present day. “We now, in the newspapers, hear the horror of what some terrorist groups do, who slit the throats of people just because [their victims] are Christians. We think of the Egyptian martyrs, recently, on the Libyan coast, who were slaughtered while pronouncing the name of Jesus.”
Pope Francis prayed that the Lord might, “give us a full understanding, to know the Mystery of God who is in Christ,” and who, “carries the Cross, the Cross of persecution, the Cross of hatred, the Cross of that, which comes from the anger,” of persecutors – an anger that is stirred up by “the Father of Evil”:
“May the Lord, today, make us feel within the body of the Church, the love for our martyrs and also our vocation to martyrdom. We do not know what will happen here: we do not know. Only Let the Lord give us the grace, should this persecution happen here one day, of the courage and the witness that all Christian martyrs have shown, and especially the Christians of the Armenian people.”(from Vatican Radio)