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  • Altar St. Peter Basilica
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Altar St. Peter Basilica1 Our Lady Of Perpetual Help2 3 4 St. Vitus Cathedral Prague5 Altar St. Mary Redcliffe6 Bayonne Cathedral7 8 Christ Pantocrator9 10 11 Pope Francis12
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Pope at Mass: ‘Holy shame overcomes temptation of ambition’

(Vatican Radio) “May the Lord give us the grace of ‘holy shame’ before the temptation of ambition.” That was Pope Francis’ message at daily Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday, saying that the one who wants to be the first must be last and the servant of all.

Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:

Pope Francis began his homily at daily Mass noting that “We will all be tempted.” He drew inspiration from the First Reading, which recalls that whoever wishes to serve the Lord must prepare for temptations, and the Gospel reading, in which Jesus tells his disciples of his impending death.

Temptation of ambition

The disciples do not understand why Jesus has told them of his coming death but are too afraid to ask what he means. This, the Pope said, is “the temptation to not complete the mission”. He said even Jesus suffered this temptation.

The day’s Gospel also mentioned another temptation, that of ambition. The disciples argue along the way about who among them was the greatest, but remain silent when Jesus asks them what they are discussing. The Holy Father said they do not respond because they are ashamed of their words:

“These were good people, who wanted to follow and serve the Lord. But they did not realize that the path of service to the Lord was not an easy one. It wasn’t like becoming part of a group, some charitable group doing good: No, it was something else. They were afraid of this. It happened, happens, and will happen. Let us think about infighting in a parish: ‘I want to be the president of this association, in order to climb the ladder. Who is the greatest here? Who is the greatest in this parish? No, I am the most important here; not that person there because he did something…’ And that is the chain of sin.”

Pope Francis also gave other examples of this temptation which brings one to “speak poorly of another” and to “climb the ladder”.

“Sometimes we priests say ashamedly within our presbyteries: ‘I want that parish… But the Lord is here… But I want that one…’ It is the same. It isn’t the way of the Lord but the path of vanity, of worldliness. The same occurs even among us bishops: worldliness comes as a temptation. Many times [it is said]: ‘I am in this diocese but look at how important that one is’ and I try to influence someone, or put pressure, to get somewhere…”

Therefore, Pope Francis exhorted his audience to always ask the Lord for “the grace to be ashamed when we find ourselves in these situations”.

Holy shame against the temptation to worldliness: ‘We are unworthy servants’

Jesus, he said, overturns this logic. Sitting among his disciples he reminds them that “if someone wishes to be first, they shall be last and the servant of all”. Jesus then takes a child and places it in their midst, telling them “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

The Pope asked his audience to pray for the Church, “for all of us” so that the Lord may defend us “from ambitions and from the worldliness of wishing to be greater than others”.

“May the Lord give us the grace of shame, of holy shame, when we find ourselves in that situation of temptation and to be ashamed: ‘But am I able to think such a thing? When I see my Lord on the cross and I would want to use the Lord to climb the ladder? And may God give us the grace of the simplicity of a child. I imagine a final question: ‘Lord, I have served you all my life. I have been the last all my life. And now what? What does the Lord say? Tell yourself: ‘I am an unworthy servant.’”

(from Vatican Radio)

Posted on 21 February 2017 | 1:16 pm

Pope Francis: 'the protection of migrants is a moral duty'

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday said the challenges of migration and the promotion of peace cannot be tackled without development and integration.

Speaking to participants of an International Forum on Migration and Peace taking place in Rome, whom he received in the Vatican , the Pope said the political community, civil society and the Church must offer a shared response to the complexities of the phenomenon of migration today .

“Our shared response, he said,  may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.

He also drew attention to particularly vulnerable group of migrants, exiles and refugees:  “children and young people who are forced to live far from their homeland and who are separated from their loved ones”.  

The two-day High-Level International Forum  is organized by the new Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development in collaboration with the Scalabrini International Migration Network.

It aims to stimulate a high-level dialogue on the root causes of migration and  to elaborate and propose the best solutions for an ethical approach on the international management of migration as well as the integration of migrants in hosting communities, and to concretely influence migration policies and practices.

Please find below the full text of the Pope’s address to the Forum:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I extend to you my cordial greeting, with deep appreciation for your invaluable work.  I thank Archbishop Tomasi for his kind words, as well as Doctor Pöttering for his address.  I am also grateful for the three testimonies which reflect in a tangible way the theme of this Forum: “Integration and Development: From Reaction to Action”.  In effect, it is not possible to view the present challenges of contemporary migratory movement and of the promotion of peace, without including the twofold term “development and integration”: for this very reason I wanted to establish the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, with a Section concerned exclusively for migrants, refugees and the victims of human trafficking.

    Migration, in its various forms, is not a new phenomenon in humanity’s history.  It has left its mark on every age, encouraging encounter between peoples and the birth of new civilizations.  In its essence, to migrate is the expression of that inherent desire for the happiness proper to every human being, a happiness that is to be sought and pursued.  For us Christians, all human life is an itinerant journey towards our heavenly homeland. 

    The beginning of this third millennium is very much characterized by migratory movement which, in terms of origin, transit and destination, involves nearly every part of the world.  Unfortunately, in the majority of cases this movement is forced, caused by conflict, natural disasters, persecution, climate change, violence, extreme poverty and inhumane living conditions: “The sheer number of people migrating from one continent to another, or shifting places within their own countries and geographical areas, is striking. Contemporary movements of migration represent the largest movement of individuals, if not of peoples, in history” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 5 August 2013).

    Before this complex panorama, I feel the need to express particular concern for the forced nature of many contemporary migratory movements, which increases the challenges presented to the political community, to civil society and to the Church, and which amplifies the urgency for a coordinated and effective response to these challenges.  

    Our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.

      To welcome.  “Rejection is an attitude we all share; it makes us see our neighbour not as a brother or sister to be accepted, but as unworthy of our attention, a rival, or someone to be bent to our will” (Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 12 January 2015).  Faced with this kind of rejection, rooted ultimately in self-centredness and amplified by populist rhetoric, what is needed is a change of attitude, to overcome indifference and to counter fears with a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors.  For those who flee conflicts and terrible persecutions, often trapped within the grip of criminal organisations who have no scruples, we need to open accessible and secure humanitarian channels.  A responsible and dignified welcome of our brothers and sisters begins by offering them decent and appropriate shelter.  The enormous gathering together of persons seeking asylum and of refugees has not produced positive results.  Instead these gatherings have created new situations of vulnerability and hardship.  More widespread programmes of welcome, already initiated in different places, seem to favour a personal encounter and allow for greater quality of service and increased guarantees of success.

      To protect.  My predecessor, Pope Benedict, highlighted the fact that the migratory experience often makes people more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and violence (cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 18 October 2005).  We are speaking about millions of migrant workers, male and female – and among these particularly men and women in irregular situations – of those exiled and seeking asylum, and of those who are victims of trafficking.  Defending their inalienable rights, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties from which no one can be exempted.  Protecting these brothers and sisters is a moral imperative which translates into adopting juridical instruments, both international and national, that must be clear and relevant; implementing just and far reaching political choices; prioritising constructive processes, which perhaps are slower, over immediate results of consensus; implementing timely and humane programmes in the fight against “the trafficking of human flesh” which profits off others’ misfortune; coordinating the efforts of all actors, among which, you may be assured will always be the Church. 

    To promote.  Protecting is not enough.  What is required is the promotion of an integral human development of migrants, exiles and refugees.  This “takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation” (Apostolic Letter Humanam Progressionem, 17 August 2016).  Development, according to the social doctrine of the Church (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 373-374), is an undeniable right of every human being.  As such, it must be guaranteed by ensuring the necessary conditions for its exercise, both in the individual and social context, providing fair access to fundamental goods for all people and offering the possibility of choice and growth.  Also here a coordinated effort is needed, one which envisages all the parties involved: from the political community to civil society, from international organisations to religious institutions.  The human promotion of migrants and their families begins with their communities of origin.  That is where such promotion should be guaranteed, joined to the right of being able to emigrate, as well as the right to not be constrained to emigrate (cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 12 October 2012), namely the right to find in one’s own homeland the conditions necessary for living a dignified life.  To this end, efforts must be encouraged that lead to the implementation of programmes of international cooperation, free from partisan interests, and programmes of transnational development which involve migrants as active protagonists.  

      To integrate.  Integration, which is neither assimilation nor incorporation, is a two-way process, rooted essentially in the joint recognition of the other’s cultural richness: it is not the superimposing of one culture over another, nor mutual isolation, with the insidious and dangerous risk of creating ghettoes.  Concerning those who arrive and who are duty bound not to close themselves off from the culture and traditions of the receiving country, respecting above all its laws, the family dimension of the process of integration must not be overlooked: for this reason I feel the need to reiterate the necessity, often presented by the Magisterium (cf. John Paul II, Message for World Migration Day, 15 August 1986), of policies directed at favouring and benefiting the reunion of families.  With regard to indigenous populations, they must be supported, by helping them to be sufficiently aware of and open to processes of integration which, though not always simple and immediate, are always essential and, for the future, indispensable.  This requires specific programmes, which foster significant encounters with others.  Furthermore, for the Christian community, the peaceful integration of persons of various cultures is, in some way, a reflection of its catholicity, since unity, which does not nullify ethnic and cultural diversity, constitutes a part of the life of the Church, who in the Spirit of Pentecost is open to all and desires to embrace all (cf. John Paul II, Message for World Migration Day, 5 August 1987).

    I believe that conjugating these four verbs, in the first person singular and in the first person plural, is today a responsibility, a duty we have towards our brothers and sisters who, for various reasons, have been forced to leave their homeland: a duty of justice, of civility and of solidarity.

     First of all, a duty of justice.  We can no longer sustain unacceptable economic inequality, which prevents us from applying the principle of the universal destination of the earth’s goods.  We are all called to undertake processes of apportionment which are respectful, responsible and inspired by the precepts of distributive justice.  “We need, then, to find ways by which all may benefit from the fruits of the earth, not only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality and respect for every human being” (Message for the World Day of Peace, 8 December 2013, 9).  One group of individuals cannot control half of the world’s resources.  We cannot allow for persons and entire peoples to have a right only to gather the remaining crumbs.  Nor can we be indifferent or think ourselves dispensed from the moral imperatives which flow from a joint responsibility to care for the planet, a shared responsibility often stressed by the political international community, as also by the Magisterium (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 9; 163; 189, 406).  This joint responsibility must be interpreted in accord with the principle of subsidiarity, “which grants freedom to develop the capabilities present at every level of society, while also demanding a greater sense of responsibility for the common good from those who wield greater power” (Laudato Si’, 196).  Ensuring justice means also reconciling history with our present globalized situation, without perpetuating mind-sets which exploit people and places, a consequence of the most cynical use of the market in order to increase the wellbeing of the few.  As Pope Benedict affirmed, the process of decolonization was delayed “both because of new forms of colonialism and continued dependence on old and new foreign powers, and because of grave irresponsibility within the very countries that have achieved independence” (Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 33).  For all this there must be redress.

    Second, there is a duty of civility.  Our commitment to migrants, exiles and refugees is an application of those principles and values of welcome and fraternity that constitute a common patrimony of humanity and wisdom which we draw from.  Such principles and values have been historically codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in numerous conventions and international agreements.  “Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance” (ibid., 62).  Today more than ever, it is necessary to affirm the centrality of the human person, without allowing immediate and ancillary circumstances, or even the necessary fulfilment of bureaucratic and administrative requirements, to obscure this essential dignity. As Saint John Paul II stated, an “irregular legal status cannot allow the migrant to lose his dignity, since he is endowed with inalienable rights, which can neither be violated nor ignored” (John Paul II, Message for World Migration Day, 25 July 1995, 2).  From the duty of civility is also regained the value of fraternity, which is founded on the innate relational constitution of the human person: “A lively awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and to treat each person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace” (Message for the World Day of Peace, 8 December 2013, 1).  Fraternity is the most civil way of relating with the reality of another person, which does not threaten us, but engages, reaffirms and enriches our individual identity (cf. Benedict XVI, Address to Participants in an Interacademic Conference on “The Changing Identity of the Individual”, 28 January 2008).  

    Finally, there is a duty of solidarity.  In the face of tragedies which take the lives of so many migrants and refugees – conflicts, persecutions, forms of abuse, violence, death – expressions of empathy and compassion cannot help but spontaneously well-up.  “Where is your brother” (Gen 4:9): this question which God asks of man since his origins, involves us, especially today with regard to our brothers and sisters who are migrating: “This is not a question directed to others; it is a question directed to me, to you, to each of us” (Homily at the "Arena" Sports Camp, Salina Quarter, Lampedusa, 8 July 2013).  Solidarity is born precisely from the capacity to understand the needs of our brothers and sisters who are in difficulty and to take responsibility for these needs.  Upon this, in short, is based the sacred value of hospitality, present in religious traditions.  For us Christians, hospitality offered to the weary traveller is offered to Jesus Christ himself, through the newcomer: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35).  The duty of solidarity is to counter the throwaway culture and give greater attention to those who are weakest, poorest and most vulnerable.  Thus “a change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 5 August 2013).
    
    As I conclude these reflections, allow me to draw attention again to a particularly vulnerable group of migrants, exiles and refugees whom we are called to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.  I am speaking of the children and young people who are forced to live far from their homeland and who are separated from their loved ones.  I dedicated my most recent Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees to them, highlighting how “we need to work towards protection, integration and long-term solutions” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 8 September 2016).

    I trust that these two days will bear an abundant fruit of good works.  I assure you of my prayers; and, please, do not forget to pray for me.  Thank you. 

___________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Messaggio per la 100a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato, 5 agosto 2013.
[1] Discorso al Corpo diplomatico accreditato presso la Santa Sede, 12 gennaio 2015.
[1] Cfr Benedetto XVI, Messaggio per la 92a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato, 18 ottobre 2005.
[1] Lett. ap. in forma di Motu proprio Humanam progressionem, 17 agosto 2016.
[1] Cfr Pontificio Consiglio della Giustizia e della Pace, Compendio della Dottrina Sociale della Chiesa, 373-374.
[1] Cfr Benedetto XVI, Messaggio per la 99a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato, 12 ottobre 2012.
[1] Cfr Giovanni Paolo II, Messaggio per la Giornata Mondiale delle Migrazioni, 15 agosto 1986.
[1] Cfr Giovanni Paolo II, Messaggio per la Giornata Mondiale delle Migrazioni, 5 agosto 1987.
[1] Messaggio per la 47ª Giornata Mondiale della Pace, 8 dicembre 2013, 9.
[1] Cfr Pontificio Consiglio della Giustizia e della Pace, Compendio della Dottrina Sociale della Chiesa, 9;163;189;406.
[1] Lett. enc. Laudato si’, 196.
[1] Benedetto XVI, Lett. enc. Caritas in veritate, 33.
[1] Ibid., 62.
[1] Giovanni Paolo II, Messaggio per la Giornata Mondiale delle Migrazioni, 25 luglio 1995, 2.
[1] Messaggio per 47ª Giornata Mondiale della Pace, 8 dicembre 2013, 1.
[1] Cfr Benedetto XVI, Discorso ai partecipanti al convegno inter-accademico “L’identità mutevole dell'individuo”, 28 gennaio 2008.
[1] Omelia al Campo sportivo “Arena” in Località Salina, 8 luglio 2013.
[1] Messaggio per la 100a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato.
[1] Messaggio per la 103a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato, 8 settembre 2016.

(from Vatican Radio)

Posted on 21 February 2017 | 12:08 pm

Vatican delegation to visit University of Al-Azhar in Egypt

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council For Interreligious Dialogue has announced the President of the Council, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, accompanied by Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, Secretary, and Msgr. Khaled Akasheh, Head of the Office for Islam, will be in Cairo, Egypt, on 22-23 February, to participate at a seminar at the University of Al-Azhar, with the theme: "The role of al-Azhar al-Sharif and of the Vatican in countering the phenomena of fanaticism, extremism and violence in the name of religion."

The Cardinal President will lead the Catholic delegation, which will also include Archbishop Bruno Musarò, Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt.

After the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Professor Ahmad Al-Tayyib on 23 May 2016, the Secretary of the Dicastery has travelled to Cairo several times, where he participated in many meetings and preliminary preparations for this event.

This meeting will conclude on the vigil of the anniversary of the visit of Pope St. John Paul II to Al-Azhar, which took place on 24 February 2000.

(from Vatican Radio)

Posted on 21 February 2017 | 12:03 pm

Pope: No revenge, pray for those who wrong you

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday afternoon made a visit to the parish of Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus in the suburbs of Rome. During Mass, he stressed, that the path to holiness was forgiveness and prayer and that revenge and resentment has no place in the Christian life.

Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report

Sunday afternoon was an away day for Pope Francis. He made a visit to the Roman parish of Saint Maria Josefa in Ponte di Nona in the east of the city. After greeting parishioners and meeting with a group of children, the Pope celebrated Mass telling the congregation present, never to go down the road of revenge or resentment. Instead, he said, “pray for those who want to do evil: this prevents wars and brings peace.” It is also, the Pope added, the “Christian path to holiness.”

Drawing from the readings of the day, Pope Francis spoke about the path to perfection, holiness and sainthood. Jesus, the Holy Father said, explained concretely in the Gospel the necessary tools that are needed to travel this road. He said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I tell you not to resist evil.” That, the Pope stressed means, no revenge. If I have a heart full of resentment and want revenge, he continued, that takes away my holiness.

Someone saying, “you did this to me and you will pay for this”, is not the language of a  Christian. Instead, Pope Francis underlined, God tells us to pray for those who slander us.

The Pope went on to say that the great wars we see in the news and in newspapers about the massacre of people, of children is the same hatred that you have in your heart for a certain relative.

“To forgive from the heart”. This Pope Francis said, was the road of "sanctity."

If God “is merciful, holy and perfect, we must be merciful, holy and perfect like him”. This, the Pope observed is “sanctity”: a man or woman who does this deserves to be canonized, become holy. The “Christian life is simple”, he said .

Prayer, observed the Holy Father  is “an antidote against hatred, against wars.” If someone doesn’t  like you, pray for them, because powerful prayer, stressed Pope Francis, overcomes evil and brings peace.

 


 

(from Vatican Radio)

Posted on 20 February 2017 | 8:52 am

Pope: Christ's law of love overcomes law of retaliation

(Vatican Radio) During his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis said the day’s Gospel – part of the Sermon on the Mount, from the Gospel of Saint Matthew – is one of the Biblical passages that best expresses the Christian “revolution.”

In the day’s Gospel reading, he said, “Christ shows the path of true justice, through the law of love that overcomes that of retaliation, that is, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.” Jesus, he continued, does not ask His disciples simply to bear evils patiently, but to return good for evil: “Only in this way can the chains of evil be broken, and things can truly change.”

Pope Francis notes that for Jesus, the refusal to return evil for evil goes so far as to sometimes involve giving up a legitimate right: turning the other cheek, or giving up one’s cloak, or making other sacrifices. But, he said, “this renunciation doesn’t mean that the needs of justice should be ignored or contradicted; on the contrary, Christian love, which is manifested in a special way in mercy, represents a superior realization of justice.”

Jesus, the Pope said, wants to teach us the distinction between justice and vengeance: “We are allowed to ask for justice; it is our duty to practice justice. On the other hand, we are forbidden to revenge ourselves or to encourage vengeance in any way, insofar as it is an expression of hatred or of violence.”

In fact, Christ’s law of love calls on us to love even our enemies. This, Pope Francis said, should not be seen as an approval of their wicked actions, but as “an invitation to a higher perspective, like that of the heavenly Father, who makes His sun to rise on the wicked and the good.” Even our enemies, the Pope explained, are human persons, created in the image of God – even if that image is sometimes obscured by evil acts. Christ calls us to respond to our enemies with goodness, inspired by love.

Before leading the traditional Angelus prayer, Pope Francis prayed that the Virgin Mary might help us follow “this demanding path” set out by Jesus, “which truly exalts human dignity, and makes us live as children of our Father Who is in heaven.” The Holy Father prayed that Mary might help us to practice patience, dialogue, forgiveness, and to be artisans of communion and of fraternity in our daily life.”

Listen to Christopher Wells' report: 

(from Vatican Radio)

Posted on 19 February 2017 | 1:17 pm

Pope prays for victims of violence in DR Congo and Pakistan

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis led the crowds gathered for the Sunday Angelus in a prayer for the victims of violence in Africa and around the world. In particular, he prayed for those affected by violence in the region of the Kasaï Central province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I suffer deeply for the victims, especially for so many children ripped from their families and their schools to be used as soldiers.”

The Holy Father renewed his “heartfelt appeal to the consciences and the responsibility of the national authorities and the international community, that they might take adequate and timely decisions to assist these our brothers and sisters.”

In praying for victims of violence in the world, the Pope turned his thoughts in particular to “the dear peoples of Pakistan and of Iraq, struck in recent days by cruel acts of terrorism.”

Pope Francis prayed for all victims of violence, those who have died and those who have been injured, as well as for their families. “Let us pray ardently,” he concluded “for every heart hardened by hatred, that they might be converted to peace, according to the will of God.” Then, following a moment of silent prayer, he led the crowd in the recitation of the “Hail Mary”. 

(from Vatican Radio)

Posted on 19 February 2017 | 12:31 pm



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