Updated: 2 hours 6 min ago
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday received the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, in private audience in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni :
The meeting between Pope Francis and President Schultz was an occasion for the two men to look ahead to the Pope’s journey to Strasbourg scheduled to take place next month.
They had already met here in the Vatican exactly one year ago when Schultz’s visit coincided with the publication of an essay written by him to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Saint Pope John II’s visit to the European Parliament back in 1988.
“It would be a great honour” – Schultz wrote in an editorial at the time – to hear again the message of the Holy Father, his words of foresight, solidarity and hope”. And it was in that occasion that he invited Pope Francis to address the plenary yet again, something he will do in the morning of November 25 before going on to give another address to members of the Council of Europe.
After his first audience with the Pope, President Schulz released a statement on his visit saying there are many issues on which the two men share similar views and on which – he said – we can join forces: like “the protection of refugees in the Mediterranean, the fight against poverty and social exclusion or improving the prospects of young people both within and outside the EU”.
During a brief encounter with a few journalists after the meeting, President Schultz told me that today details of the visit to Strasbourg were further defined…
"We prepared the visit of the Pope to the European Parliament which I think is an exceptional moment for the European Parliament and we talked about the circumstances and the political framework the Pope will find when he delivers his address".
Obviously, he didn’t give too much away, but he did tell me that European Parliamentarians - across the spectrum - are preparing to give Pope Francis a unanimous warm and enthusiastic welcome.
(from Vatican Radio)...
Vatican City, 30 October 2014 (VIS) – On 14 October, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, spoke during the General Debate of the UNGA First Committee held in New York. “The past year has seen progress on the elimination of chemical weapons”, he affirmed; “yet reports of the continued use of chemical weapons, including chlorine gas, reminds the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate once and for all chemical weapons and any use as a weapon of dual-use chemicals”. “With regard to nuclear weapons, the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which will be held in December in Vienna, Austria, is a sobering reminder of the deep frustration of the international community at the lack of speedy progress on nuclear disarmament, and of the inhuman and immoral consequences of the use of weapons of mass destruction”. He remarked that the ninth Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference will take place very soon in New York, and that nearly all the States represented in the room are parties to the treaty. “The NPT’s central promise of nuclear weapons States to gradually disarm in exchange for non-nuclear-weapon States to refrain from acquiring nuclear arms remains at an impasse”. As a consequence, he continued, the Holy See delegation “urges this Committee and the preparation for the ninth NPT Review Conference to focus on the need to move beyond nuclear deterrence, and work toward the establishment of lasting peace founded on mutual trust, rather than a state of mere non-belligerence founded on the logic of mutual destruction. In this regard, the Holy See urges all states to sign and/or ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty without further delay, because it is a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime”, adding that the establishment of weapons of mass destruction free zones, in the opinion of the Holy See delegation, “would be a big step in the right direction, as it would demonstrate we can indeed move toward a universal agreement to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction”. The archbishop concluded by emphasising that the Holy See “welcomes the progress, however modest, in the areas of conventional weapons”, but remains “deeply concerned that the flow of conventional arms continues to exacerbate conflicts around the globe”. He expressed the delegation’s hope that “this year’s session will respond to this challenge, and recognise the grave consequences of the proliferation and use of conventional weapons on human life throughout the world”....
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met for the first time on Thursday with a delegation of the Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Union of Utrecht, reflecting on the shared ecumenical journey since the group broke away from Rome in the 18th century over questions of papal authority. The group was led by the Archbishop of Utrecht Dr Joris Vercammen, president of the International Old Catholic Bishops Conference.
Philippa Hitchen reports :
Noting that the International Dialogue Commission between Rome and the Old Catholic Church has helped build “new bridges” of mutual understanding and practical co-operation, Pope Francis said convergences and consensus have been found, and differences between the two groups have been more clearly identified. At the same time though, he said we are also saddened when we recognize “new disagreements” that have emerged on matters of ministry and ethical discernment, making the theological and ecclesiological questions harder to overcome.
The challenge for Catholics and Old Catholics, Pope Francis said, is to persevere in dialogue and to walk, pray and work together in a deeper spirit of conversion. Noting that there have been “grave sins” on the part of both sides, the Pope said in a spirit of mutual forgiveness and humble repentance, we need now to strengthen our desire for reconciliation and peace. The path towards unity begins with a change of heart, he stressed and on the spiritual journey from encounter to friendship, from friendship to brotherhood, from brotherhood to communion, change is inevitable if we are willing to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
In the meantime, the Pope said, there are many areas in which Catholics and Old Catholics can collaborate in tackling the profound spiritual crisis affecting individuals and societies, especially in Europe which is “so confused about its identity and vocation”. There is an urgent need for a convincing witness to the truth and values of the Gospel, he said and in this we can support and encourage one another, especially at the level of parishes and local communities. The soul of ecumenism, Pope Francis said, lies in a “change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis described Christian life as a continuous battle being waged against Satan, the world and the passions of the flesh. His comments came during his homily at Mass celebrated on Thursday morning at the Santa Marta residence. He stressed that the devil exists and we must fight against him with the armour of truth.
Pope Francis's reflections during his homily were taken from the words of St Paul in his letter to the Ephesians where the apostle urged Christians to put on the full armour of God in order to resist Satan’s temptations. A Christian life, he said, has to be defended and it requires both strength and courage. It’s a continuous battle against the three main enemies of Christian life which are the devil, the world and the passions of the flesh.
“From whom do I have to defend myself? What must I do? Pauls tells us to put on God’s full armour, meaning that God acts as a defence, helping us to resist Satan’s temptations. Is this clear? No spiritual life, no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without putting on God’s armour which gives us strength and protects us.”
Saint Paul, continued the Pope, underlines that our battle is not against little things but against the principalities and the ruling forces, in other words against the devil and his followers.
“But in this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists and we must fight against him. Paul tells us this, it’s not me saying it! The Word of God is telling us this. But we’re not all convinced of this. And then Paul describes God’s armour and which are the different types that make up this great armour of God. And he says: ‘So stand your ground, with truth a belt around your waist.’ The truth is God’s armour.”
By contrast, said Pope Francis, the devil is a liar and the father of liars and in order to fight him we must have truth on our side. He also underlined the importance of always having our faith in God, like a shield, when fighting this battle against the devil, who, he noted, doesn't throw flowers at us but instead burning arrows.
“Life is a military endeavour. Christian life is a battle, a beautiful battle, because when God emerges victorious in every step of our life, this gives us joy, a great happiness: the joy that the Lord is the victor within us, with his free gift of salvation. But we’re all a bit lazy, aren’t we, in this battle and we allow ourselves to get carried away by our passions, by various temptations. That’s because we’re sinners, all of us! But don’t get discouraged. Have courage and strength because the Lord is with us.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) A two day conference marking the 20 th anniversary of the restoration of Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel opened on Thursday in Rome.
The event organised by the Vatican Museums is entitled “The Sistine Chapel 20 years later: New breath, new light.”
The conference will examine the current state of frescoes, as well as new methods being taken to protect the priceless artistic treasure.
On Wednesday evening in the Sistine Chapel the world’s media was invited to view the new lighting and air systems that have been installed, in order show the frescos off to their best advantage and protect the Chapel against humidity.
Lydia O'Kane was in the Sistine Chapel to see the result and spoke to Michel Grabon, Director of AdvanTE3C SC, Carrier HVAC Europe. Listen
According to the Director of the Vatican Museums the new lighting system is meant to provide a gentle but total illumination to the frescos but at the same time is non-invasive thus respecting the stylistic and historic reality of the Sistine Chapel.
The US-based company CARRIER has provided a state-of-the-art heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system for the Chapel, specially designed to address the challenges of protecting Michelangelo’s masterpieces against deterioration.
“…the system was extremely advanced, advanced in the sense that we have applied very very advanced technology, we have invented some of the technology to be able to fulfill very very complex requirements”, said Michel Grabon, Director of AdvanTE3C SC, Carrier HVAC Europe, who was in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday evening and who worked on the project.
He went on to stress the importance on maintaining stable operating conditions inside the Chapel. “You can have 100 people, 2000 people inside, you know in a few minutes it can change, so it is extremely important to be able to respond to the change of the load in a very very quick time.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011. The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009.
The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received from Nicolas Ollivant, the chairman of the Friends of the Ordinariate, a charity set up to support the Ordinariate's work.
Mr. Ollivant’s letter also included information on the Ordinariate's central church in London, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, on Warwick Street. It is the site of the former chapel to the Bavarian embassy to England, which greatly pleased the Pope Emeritus.
The full text of the letter (translated into English on the Ordinariate’s website) is below
Since I know that you read the German language without difficulty, I may answer your friendly letter of 1 September in my mother tongue, since my English would not quite suffice to do so.
Your thanks for the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has greatly moved me, and I ask you to convey my thanks to all its members. Naturally, I am particularly glad that the former Bavarian Chapel has now become your Ordinariate's church, and serves such an important role in the whole Church of God. It has been a long time since I have heard news of this holy place, and it was therefore with all the more interest and gratitude that I read the description with which you accompanied your letter.
Once more, many thanks, and may God bless you all.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has told the United Nations that the right to life is at the foundation of human rights.
The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, was speaking on Wednesday to the United Nations General Assembly Committee Meeting on Human Rights in New York.
“The right to life as enshrined in natural law and protected by international human rights laws lies at the foundation of all human rights,” he said. “The Holy See reaffirms that all life must be fully protected in all its stages from conception until natural death.”
Archbishop Auza added with the right to life, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion continues to face serious challenges around the world.
“In some regions, violations against religious freedom have multiplied and intensified in their brutality, in particular against religious minorities,” he said. “My delegation insists that these ruthless violations must not only be seen as violence against ethnic and religious minorities, but first and foremost must be condemned as blatant violations of fundamental human rights, and must be dealt with accordingly.”
The full text of Archbishop Auza’s remarks are below:
Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Third Committee, Agenda Item 68 (b and c): Human Rights
New York, 29 October 2014
I would like to thank the various Special Rapporteurs and Special Mandate holders for their reports and work during the past year. Today’s discussion brings to light a great number of serious challenges to human rights around the world, and reminds us of the need to rebuild trust in the human rights system in upholding fundamental human rights.
The right to life as enshrined in natural law and protected by international human rights laws lies at the foundation of all human rights. The Holy See reaffirms that all life must be fully protected in all its stages from conception until natural death.
In this regard, my delegation welcomes the reduction in the last two years of the recourse to the death penalty around the globe. As Pope Francis affirmed before representatives of the Association of International Penal Law, received in the Vatican last October 23, “it is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples’ lives from an unjust aggression." The Pope also recommends the abolition of life imprisonment, which he defines as “a hidden death penalty” because, like the death penalty, it excludes all possibilities of redemption and recuperation. He warned against “penal populism” that privileges punishment to solve society’s ills, rather than a more rigorous pursuit of social justice and preventative measures. This is especially important when it comes to juvenile delinquency and crimes committed by the elderly. Pope Francis called on all people of goodwill to struggle also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of prisoners, so many of whom, in so many countries of the world, have been detained for long periods without trial.
Along with the right to life, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion continues to face serious challenges around the world. In some regions, violations against religious freedom have multiplied and intensified in their brutality, in particular against religious minorities. My delegation insists that these ruthless violations must not only be seen as violence against ethnic and religious minorities, but first and foremost must be condemned as blatant violations of fundamental human rights, and must be dealt with accordingly.
In other parts of the world, religious freedom faces legal barriers put by public authorities and experiences condescending if not outright discriminatory behavior of some in society. Some authorities seek to restrict religious observance to the private realm and impose legal obligations that conflict with personal conscience and religious beliefs. Given this misconstrued understanding of religious freedom and similar misconceptions still existing today, my delegation wishes to note that the struggle for religious freedom was at the origins of certain nations. The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is an inalienable fundamental human right; thus, it has always been and will always be at the core of the struggle for the recognition and free exercise of fundamental human rights.
In this context, my delegation welcomes the Interim Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (A/69/261), which, inter alia, identifies measures of “reasonable accommodation” to overcome discrimination and violation of this fundamental human right in the workplace. Indeed, a world that truly respects religious freedom must move beyond mere toleration. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights instruments explicitly affirm that the right to freedom of religion or belief includes the right of all to practice their faith alone or in community, in public or private, and the right to change his or her religion or belief.
In order to address these challenges, we must strengthen the international human rights system. My delegation hopes that the resolution on Strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system (A/RES/68/268) translates into meaningful reform towards greater observance of treaties (Pacta sunt servanda) and their faithful and objective, not political or ideological, monitoring.
With lessons learned from our failure to stop massive violations of fundamental human rights – including and most especially religious freedom- and of international humanitarian law, the time is for courageous decisions. My delegation looks forward to working with all delegations during this session to reinvigorate respect and appreciation for fundamental human rights around the world.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”.
This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ general audience Wednesday, which he dedicated to the relationship between the visible and spiritual reality of the Church.
Listen to the report by Emer McCarthy :
The Pope observed that the Church represents the Body of Jesus, and that its visible dimension- that is the structures and people who make up the Church – are at the service of its spiritual reality, witnessing to God’s love for all mankind.
He underlined that the Church visible is not just the priests, bishops or Popes. It is made up of Baptized men and women all over the world who carry out immeasurable acts of love. Families who are firm in the faith, parents who give their all to transmit the faith to their children, the sick who offer their suffering to the Lord.
Pope Francis noted that often as a Church we experience our fragility and our limitations, which rightly provoke profound displeasure, especially when we give bad example and become a source of scandal, “because people go by our witness” as Christians.
“Through her Sacraments and her witness to Christ in our world, the Church seeks to proclaim and bring God’s merciful love to all, particularly the poor and those in need”.
Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s catechesis [Original text: Italian]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
in the previous catechesis we highlighted how the Church is spiritual in nature: it is the Body of Christ, built in the Holy Spirit. When we refer to the Church, however, our thoughts turn immediately to our communities, our parishes, our diocese, to the structures in which we usually gather together and, of course, of the component and institutional figures which guide and govern it. This is the visible reality of the Church. We must ask, then: Are they two different things or the One Church? And, if it is the One Church, how can we understand the relationship between its visible and spiritual reality?
1. First, when we speak of the visible reality of the Church we said there are two- the visible reality which we see and the spiritual one - we must not think only of the Pope, Bishops, priests and consecrated persons. The visible reality of the Church is made up of the many baptized brothers and sisters around the world who believe, hope and love. [ Moving from the prepared text ] “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”.
Of all those who follow the Lord Jesus and, in His name, are close to the poor and the suffering, trying to offer some relief, comfort and peace. [ Moving from the prepared text ] “All of those who do these things, which the Lord sent us to do are the Church”. Thus we understand that the visible reality of the Church cannot be measured, it cannot be known in all its fullness: how can one know of all the good that is done? [ Moving from the prepared text ] “So many acts of love, so much faithfulness in families, so much work in educating children, to carry on, to transmit the faith, so much suffering in the sick who offer their suffering to the Lord. We cannot measure this! It is so great, so great!” How can one know of all the wonderful things that, through us, Christ is able to operate in the hearts and lives of each person? You see: the reality of the visible Church goes beyond our control, beyond our strength, and it is a mysterious reality because it comes from God.
2. To understand the relationship, in the Church, between her visible and spiritual reality, there is no other way but to look to Christ, whose Body is the Church and from which the Church is generated, in an act of infinite love . Even in Christ, in fact, through the mystery of the Incarnation, we recognize a human nature and a divine nature, united in the same person in a wonderful and indissoluble way. This applies in a similar manner to the Church. Just as in Christ, human nature serves the divine in accordance with the fulfillment of Salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible reality serve the spiritual reality of the Church. The Church, therefore, is also a mystery, in which what is not seen is more important than what is seen, and can only be recognized with the eyes of faith (cf. Const. Dogmatic Constitution. On the Church Lumen Gentium, 8).
3. In the case of the Church, however, we must ask ourselves: How can the visible reality can be at the service of the spiritual? Again, we can understand it by looking to Christ. [ Moving from the prepared text ] “But Christ is the model and the Church is His Body, He is the model for all Christians, all of us! Look to Christ, you can’t go wrong!”. The Gospel of Luke tells how Jesus came to Nazareth, where he grew up, went into the synagogue and read, referring to himself, the passage from the prophet Isaiah where it is written:"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free "(4,18-19). Look, how Christ used his humanity – because he was also a man - to announce and carry out God's plan of Redemption and Salvation, so it must be for the Church. Through its visible reality – everything we see - , the Sacraments and testimony – of all of us Christians - it is called every day to draw closer to every person, starting with the poor, those who suffer and those who are marginalized, in order to continue to help all feel the compassionate and merciful gaze of Jesus.
Dear brothers and sisters, often as a Church we experience our fragility and our limitations, all of us, we all have them. We are all sinners, no one can say I am not a sinner. And this fragility, these limitations, these our sins, it is right that these should provoke in us a profound displeasure, especially when we give bad example and we realize we are becoming a source of scandal. How often have we heard, in our neighborhoods: “That person there is always in Church but gossips about everyone, denigrates others – what a bad example! This is not Christian! This is a bad example. So people say: ‘If this is a Christian, I prefer to be an atheist! Because people go by our witness”.
Then, let us ask for the gift of faith, so that we can understand how, despite our smallness and our poverty, the Lord has really made us means of grace and a visible sign of His love for all mankind. Yes, we can become a source of scandal but we can also be a source of hope through our lives our witness, just as Jesus wants! Thank you.
Below the English language summary of the catechesis.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis on the Church, we have seen that the Church is a spiritual reality, the mystical Body of Christ. Yet we know that the Church is also a visible reality, expressed in our parishes and communities, and in her institutional structures. This visible reality is itself mysterious, for it embraces the countless and often hidden works of charity carried out by believers throughout the world. To understand the relationship between the visible and the spiritual dimensions of Christ’s Body, the Church, we need to look to Jesus himself, both God and man. Just as Christ’s humanity serves his divine mission of salvation, so too, with the eyes of faith, we can understand how the Church’s visible dimension is at the service of her deepest spiritual reality. Through her sacraments and her witness to Christ in our world, the Church seeks to proclaim and bring God’s merciful love to all, particularly the poor and those in need. Let us ask the Lord to enable us to grow in holiness and to be an ever more visible sign of his love for all mankind.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including the various groups from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Nigeria, India, Canada and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke joy and peace in the Lord Jesus. God bless you all!
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) In greeting Spanish speaking pilgrims at the general Audience Wednesday, Pope Francs spoke of the 43 Mexican students who disappeared on September 26 in Iguala, in the Southern State of Guerrero, and were burned alive by drug traffickers.
The Pope said : "I would like to raise a prayer and draw close in our hearts to the people of Mexico, who are suffering from the loss of these students and many similar problems. May our hearts be close to them, in prayer at this time".
The Archdiocese of Mexico City has issued a statement in response to the disappearance of 43 trainee teachers. An editorial published in the archdiocesan newspaper Desde la Fe reads: “The evil that Mexico suffers is a true decomposition of the social fabric, an evil from which no sector of the country escapes”.
“The seriousness of the crisis demands a deep replanting of our morals, our laws and the social and political organization of our homeland”.
“It is necessary to reconstruct the country. It is urgent that there be a commitment from all sectors of society to combat the immorality, impunity, corruption and cynicism that has our nation on its knees and covered in shame. The political class has showed itself to be unworthy and their parties have shown themselves to be totally incompetent for such a large task”.
Catholic News Service reports that the trainee teachers went missing on September 26 in Iguala, 120 miles south of Mexico City. Classmates and authorities said the students went to collect money for a trip to the capital, but were pulled over, shot at by police, detained and turned over to a criminal group known as Guerrero Unidos.
Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said the attack was ordered by Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, in order to prevent the students from protesting an event organized by Pineda.
Authorities said organised crime paid the mayor of Iguala and his wife — whose whereabouts remain unknown — more than $200,000 per month and plied the police with more money. Political observers say the collusion is unsurprising and increasing in some places as politicians on the local level are often unaccountable and feel free to act with impunity and without oversight.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis once again spoke of his concern for those affected by Ebola. “In the face of the worsening Ebola epidemic, I wish to express my deep concern about this relentless disease that is spreading especially in the African continent, above all among the most disadvantaged population.”
The Holy Father expressed his closeness to all those suffering from Ebola, “as well as to the doctors, nurses, volunteers, religious institutes and associations, who are working heroically to help our brothers and sisters who are sick,” and assured them of his affection and prayers.
Pope Francis renewed his appeal “that the international community will make all necessary efforts to eradicate this virus, effectively relieving the hardships and sufferings of those who are so sorely tried,” and invited everyone “to pray for them and for those who have lost their lives.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Tuesday with participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements which is holding a conference here in Rome to discuss problems facing the poor, the unemployed and those who’ve lost their land. The group chose to hold their three-day conference here because of Pope Francis’ particular attention to the struggles of the poor.
Listen to our report :
“This meeting of Popular Movements is a sign, a great sign,” Pope Francis told his audience. “You came to be in the presence of God, of the church… [to speak about] a reality that is often silenced. The poor not only suffer from injustice, but they also fight against it.”
The Holy Father also emphasized that it is not sufficient to be content with “illusory promises,” and that anesthetizing or taming problems at hand does not solve them. He called for solidarity amidst trying times. “Solidarity is a word that…means more than some generous, sporadic acts. It is to think and act in terms of the community…It is also to fight against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, unemployment, and [loss of] land, housing, and social and labour rights. It is to confront the destructive effects of the ‘Empire of Money:’ forcible displacements and migrations, human and drug trafficking, war, violence, and all of these realities that many of you suffer and that we all are called to address and transform. Solidarity, understood in its most profound sense, is a way of making history, and that is what the Popular Movements movement is doing,” he said.
Pope Francis spoke about the monopolization of land, deforestation, appropriation of water, and inadequate agrochemicals, which have deprived many farmers of sufficient land. He pointed out that in rural communities, land is ingrained in lifestyle and culture. For these afflicted farmers, separation from land is not purely physical, it is also “existential and spiritual,” he said. Additionally, the Pope said the need for agricultural reform is ingrained in the Church’s social doctrine. “Please,” he urged, “continue to fight for the dignity of rural families, for water, for life and for all that can benefit from the fruits of land.”
Also on the agenda were the problems of housing and employment. Insisting that every family has a right to a home, the Pope said, “Today there are many families without housing, either because they never had it or because they lost it for various reasons.” The Holy Father stressed that this was unacceptable; that in neighbourhoods families grow and plant their foundations. It is a shame, he said, that in large cities there is an abundance of neglect in regards to housing “millions of our brothers and neighbours, including children.”
The Pope went on to renounce the use of euphemisms to soften the harsh realities that plague society today. Specifically, he referred to the use of the term, “street situation,” which is used to describe the homeless. “We live in cities that build towers, malls, and businesses, but abandon the parts where the marginalized reside – the peripheries.”
Lastly, the Pope spoke about the growing problem of unemployment in Europe and around the world. “Today, the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression has taken on a new dimension,” he said. “The centre of our whole social and economic system needs to be about the person, the image of God, created for the universe.” Instead, we live in a world that is largely infatuated with the attainment of wealth, and that the economy is prioritized over the human person. He pointed out that the unemployment of the youth in Italy has reached 40%; and that in some parts of Europe, that number is even higher. “We need to change this,” he said. “We need to return to making human dignity the centre [of society]… and we need to create the alternative societal structures that we need.”
“I want to unite my voice with yours in this fight,” Pope Francis said to the group. “I know that among you are persons of different religions, professions, ideas, cultures, and continents. We are practicing here a culture of meeting that is removed from xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance that we so often see.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday exhorted Christians to feel they are an integral part of the Church.
Speaking during his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta, the Pope said that Jesus does not seek out man’s sins, but looks to his heart, and he invited all believers not to hover on the threshold of the Church, but to come right in.
Jesus did the “work” 2000 years ago when he chose twelve pillars upon which to build His Church, and positioned himself as the basis and the corner stone.
Jesus, Pope Francis said, opened the doors of that Church to all, without distinction, because Christ is interested in loving and in healing the hearts of men, not in weighing up their sins.
Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day that tells of the birth of the Church “built upon the foundation of the Apostles with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone” through whom the whole structure is held together, the Pope recalled the “actions” carried out by Jesus when he founded the Church: retiring in prayer, choosing his disciples and simultaneously welcoming and healing the crowd:
“Jesus prays, Jesus calls, Jesus chooses, Jesus sends his disciples out, Jesus heals the crowd. Inside this temple, this Jesus who is the corner stone does all this work: it is He who conducts the Church. As St Paul says, this Church is built on the foundations of the Apostles; he chose twelve of them. All of them sinners. Judas was not the one who sinned the most: I don’t know who sinned the most… Judas, poor man, is the one who closed himself to love and that is why he became a traitor. And they all ran away during the difficult time of the Passion and left Jesus alone. They are all sinners. But He chose”.
Jesus – Pope Francis said – wants us “inside” the Church. Not like guests or strangers, but with the “rights of a citizen”. We are not just passing through – he continued – it is where we have our roots. It is where our life is:
“We are citizens, fellow citizens of this Church. If we do not enter into this temple to be part of this building so that the Holy Spirit may live in us, we are not Church. We are on the threshold and look inside: “How lovely… yes this is beautiful…” Those Christians who do not go beyond the Church’s reception: they are there, at the door…’ Yes, I am Catholic, but not too Catholic…”
This is an attitude that has no sense in respect to the total love and mercy that Jesus has for every person. Proof of this is in Christ’s attitude towards Peter, who had been put at the head of the Church. Even though the first pillar was to betrays Jesus, Jesus responds with forgiveness, keeping it in its place:
“For Jesus, Peter’s sin was not important: he was looking at his heart. To be able to find this heart and heal it, he prayed. Jesus who prays and Jesus who heals. It is something he does for each of us. We cannot understand the Church without Jesus who prays and heals. May the Holy Spirit help us understand that this Church has its strength in Jesus’s prayer that can heal us all”.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) In a private meeting with leaders of the inter-denominational Ark Community, Pope Francis said Christians should not wait for theologians to reach agreement, but should walk, pray and work together now. His words came during an October 10th encounter at the Casa Santa Marta with members of the community founded by Evangelical leader Tony Palmer who was killed in a road accident last July. Palmer became friends with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he worked in Buenos Aires as international ecumenical officer of the Communion of Episcopal Evangelical Churches, a growing movement of charismatic and evangelical Christians seeking reconciliation between their divided communities.
Philippa Hitchen reports:
In an i-phone recording of the meeting , published on the Ark Community website, Pope Francis thanks Palmer’s widow and the new leader of the community, Archbishop Robert Wise, for carrying forward the dream of walking together in communion. “We are sinning against Christ’s will” the Pope says, “because we continue to focus on our differences,” but “our shared baptism is more important than our differences.”
While the devil, the “father of lies” divides us, the Pope continues, we are called to preach the Gospel in every corner of the earth, with the certainty that He is with us. “We each have in our Churches excellent theologians,” the Pope says, “but we shouldn’t wait for them to reach agreement.”
The Pope goes on to talk about spiritual ecumenism where Christians are being persecuted and killed in the Middle East, Africa or elsewhere, not because they are Pentecostal, Lutheran, Anglican, Catholic or Orthodox but “because they believe in Jesus Christ.” He mentions also a Catholic priest and a Lutheran pastor who were killed on the same day by the Nazis for teaching the Catechism to children.
The Pope concludes his off-the-cuff remarks by recalling the vision of Tony Palmer to achieve his desire of walking together “so we can eat together at the banquet of the Lord.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has told the United Nations a “central challenge” in development is “ensure that globalization benefits everyone,” and that the international community must “strengthen multilateralism” to help achieve this goal.
The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, was speaking on Monday to the UN General Assembly meeting on Globalization and Interdependence.
“Given all these benefits and values of culture, we should not reduce it to the logic of market exchange,” he said. “On the one hand, economic activity follows the logic of scarcity, as greater scarcity demands greater supply. On the other hand, culture comes from the logic of abundance. When we say culture, we see beauty, and beauty, in its metaphysical definition, is nothing but a superabundance of what is true and good.”
The full text of Archbishop Auza’s intervention is below
Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
at the Second Committee of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Agenda Item 21: Globalization and Interdependence
New York, October 27, 2014
My delegation shares the view expressed in the Secretary General’s recent reports on this topic that the central challenge in the post-2015 development agenda is to ensure that globalization benefits everyone. My delegation equally shares the view that we need to strengthen multilateralism to help achieve this goal and manage the different risks and interlinked challenges associated with globalization.
The Secretary General’s reports highlight the enormous benefits globalization can provide but, equally, the widening inequalities globalization can bring about. When globalization brings people together as equal partners, it creates mutually beneficial results, a win-win partnership for all. If not, globalization breeds greater inequalities and marginalization, exploitation and injustice. Indeed, as with most human endeavors, globalization works for good or ill, depending on the underlying ethic and policies driving the process.
My delegation wishes to underline two issues within the context of globalization and interdependence, namely the role of culture and the phenomenon of migration.
1. The Secretary General’s report on Culture and Sustainable Development informs us that culture is a prime mover in globalization and interdependence. Cultural tourism accounts for 40% of world’s fast growing tourism revenues. Moreover, its power to mobilize is not only measured in economic terms, but also in its intangible and non-monetized benefits: it widens our horizons and deepens our knowledge about peoples and places; it promotes mutual understanding among nations; it promotes greater social inclusiveness and rootedness; it encourages the preservation of cultural heritage and tradition; it fosters creativity and innovation; it drives the gentrification of inner cities; it promotes awareness on the need to protect natural wonders. In a word, culture is a prime vehicle to express and share our common humanity. It is critically important if authentic human flourishing is the ultimate goal of economic activity and development.
Thus, my delegation believes that given all these benefits and values of culture, we should not reduce it to the logic of market exchange. On the one hand, economic activity follows the logic of scarcity, as greater scarcity demands greater supply. On the other hand, culture comes from the logic of abundance. When we say culture, we see beauty, and beauty, in its metaphysical definition, is nothing but a superabundance of what is true and good. Culture is not meant to be privatized or to be exclusive, but rather to be shared and to enter into dialogue with the culture of others. A community’s culture is their gift to the global common good, for it is an expression of their humanity, and through culture we can enter into a real dialogue because it speaks to our common humanity.
2. One of the biggest challenges of globalization is migration. While individuals and peoples have been on the move since time immemorial, migration has become truly a phenomenon of our times, to the point that only a systematic and active cooperation between States and international organizations can be capable of regulating and managing migration movements effectively. The report of the Secretary General on International Migration and Development tells us of the many challenges that migratory movements pose to States and the international community as a whole. Indeed, the Holy See believes that it affects everyone, not only because of the extent of the phenomenon, but also because of the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises.
The Holy See would like to highlight the particularly troubling cases of human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery spawned by migration. Statistics suggest that up to 27 million people are living in conditions of slavery across the globe, facing sexual exploitation, forced labor and the denial of their basic rights. An estimated two million women fall victim to sexual trafficking each year, and many, including children, are victims of organ trafficking. Much more numerous still are those working in sweatshops for long hours, very poorly paid and without social and legal protections.
These modern forms of slavery are the opposite of a globalization driven by the culture of encounter and the values of solidarity and justice. Pope Francis affirms that these forms of modern slavery are a crime against humanity and an open wound on the body of our contemporary society.
My delegation is fully aware of the complexities of migration, in particular in its legal aspects, or in cases of massive forced migration or displacements due to conflicts or catastrophes. However, over and above all other considerations, it is necessary always to see the human face of migration, to see the migrant as a fellow human being, endowed with the same human dignity and rights as ourselves. It is only then that we can respond to the globalization of migration with the globalization of solidarity and cooperation. Moreover, solidarity with migrants is not enough, if it is not accompanied by efforts towards bringing peace in conflict-ridden regions and a more equitable economic world order.
If globalization has shrunk the world into a village, we may as well become good neighbors.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) The World Meeting of Popular Movements has issued a statement at the beginning of their three day conference in Rome, which begins on Monday.
The culture of encounter at the service of poor people and poor nations
As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality (inequidad) is the root of social ills.1
The thinking of Pope Francis, and how he has constantly accompanied the excluded in their struggles and their efforts to organize, have inspired and motivated us to hold this World Meeting of Popular Movements. We wish to bring to God, to the Church and to the world the voice of the voiceless. Not so that they raise their voice no more, but because they are silenced by those who hold economic power. We wish to practice the culture of encounter in the service of poor persons, of poor peoples and of this poor Church for the poor which, together with the Holy Father, we all long for. We want to listen to one other, to judge and to act on the basis of the lived experience of those sectors most seriously assaulted in their dignity by social injustice, by an economy of exclusion and by an idolatrous system of money. Together we want to discuss the structural causes of so much inequality (inequidad) which robs us of work (labor), housing (domus) and land (terra), which generates violence and destroys nature. We also want to face the challenge Francis himself sets puts to us with courage and intelligence: to seek radical proposals to resolve the problems of the poor.
This World Meeting of Popular Movements gathers social leaders from the five continents who represent grassroots organizations established by those whose inalienable rights to decent work, decent housing and fertile land are undermined, threatened or denied outright. In the main, these movements represent three increasingly excluded social sectors: (a) workers who are at risk or lack job security, in the informal sector or self-employed, migrants, day- labourers and all those unprotected by labour rights or trade unions; (b) landless farmers, family farmers, indigenous people and those at risk of being driven out of the countryside by agro-speculation and violence; (c) the marginalized and forgotten, including squatters and inhabitants of peripheral neighbourhoods or informal settlements, without adequate urban infrastructure.
Also taking part in the meeting will be trade unions and social and human rights organisations which are close to these movements and which they have nominated to participate. Finally, we will have the participation of bishops and church workers coming from different countries, officials of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and researchers of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
During three days of intensive work, the discussion will unfold around three key topics: land, housing and work. These rights should be accessible to every person and every people. However, they are increasingly out of reach for the great majority, especially of the new generations. Pope Francis has denounced this situation on countless occasions and has constantly argued for
• the centrality of decent work for the prosperity of families and peoples: “It is through free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive labour, that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives.”2
• the undeniable right to decent housing: There are so “many families who do not have a home, either because they never had one or because they lost it for any number of reasons. Family and home go together. It is very difficult to bring up a family without a home to live in... I invite everyone — persons, social institutions, authorities — to do everything possible so that every family might have a home.”3
• the importance of farming families: “It is more and more necessary to acknowledge the role of rural families and develop their full potential... In fact, families encourage dialogue among different generations and lay the foundation for real social integration. They also represent the required synergy between agricultural work and sustainability. And who better than rural families can preserve nature for the coming generations? And who, more than rural families, is interested in cohesion between individuals and social groups?”4
Within the framework of the meeting, two problems mainly affecting the excluded will also be addressed: fratricidal violence, and the destruction of environment. Pope Francis points out the close relationship
• between war and the idolatrous economic system: “A system that to survive has to make war (...) weapons are sold and, with this, the balance sheets of the idolatrous economies — the big global economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money — are obviously rendered healthy.”5
• between violence and social inequality: “The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence yet, without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict, finding fertile terrain for growth, will eventually blow up.”6
Likewise, the Holy Father warns that
• nature is at the mercy of economic power: “In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which becomes the only rule.”7
• nature is constantly under attack by the throw-away culture: “God, our Father, has not entrusted the task of caring the land to money but to us, men and women. This is our task! However, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of exploitation and consumption: this is the throw-away culture.”8
From the poorest sectors of society all around the world, the popular movements raise their voice in order to take on the lack of land, housing and work, in order to do away with violence and protect nature. They seek to enhance their indispensable contribution to the building of a more just and fraternal society, since “the earth is our common home and all of us are brothers and sisters.”9
We, the poor, want to take hold of our own destiny, and the Church wants to accompany this process. We understand that the diversity of experiences, thinking and contexts is no obstacle but rather enriches our discussion within the culture of encounter. We thank God for allowing us to hold this meeting, and we hope it will enhance both our understanding of the serious social problems afflicting us and the necessary coordination of actions to overcome them.
The Organizing Committee
1 Evangelii Gaudium (202)
2 Evangelii Gaudium (192)
3 Angelus, 22 December 2013
4 Message to José Graziano da Silva, Director of FAO, on World Food Day, 16 October 2014.
5 Interview of Pope Francis with the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia
6 Evangelii Gaudium (59)
7 Evangelii Gaudium (56)
8 General Audience, Wednesday 5 June 2013
9 Evangelii Gaudium (183)
(from Vatican Radio)...
Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the president of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. During the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on certain aspects of life in the country and the good relations existing between the Holy See and the Republic of Uganda were highlighted, with particular reference to the fundamental contribution of the Catholic Church and her collaboration with institutions in the educational, social and healthcare sectors. Furthermore, the importance of peaceful co-existence between the various social and religious components of the country was underlined. Finally, mention was made of various questions of an international nature, with special attention to the conflicts affecting certain areas of Africa....
(Vatican Radio) At morning Mass on Monday Pope Francis said that a conscientious examination of our words will help us understand whether we are Christians of light, Christians of darkness or Christians of grey areas.
Listen to our report:
Reflecting on the First Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said men are recognizable by their words. By inviting Christians to behave as children of light, and not as children of darkness, St. Paul gives "a catechesis on the word".
Pope Francis continued that there are four [types of ] words which help us understand if we are children of darkness:
“Are our words hypocrisy? Taking a little from here, a little from there, to fit in with everyone? Then they are vacuous, of no substance, empty. Are they vulgar words, trivial, or worldly? A dirty, obscene word? These four [types] of words are not of the children of light, they are not the Holy Spirit, they are not of Jesus, they are not words of the Gospel ... this way of talking, always talking about dirty things or of worldliness or emptiness or hypocrisy ".
Then, what are the words of the Saints, those of the children of light?
"Paul says : 'Be imitators of God, walk in love; walk in goodness; walk in meekness. Those who walk in this way ... 'Be merciful - says Paul - forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Be, then, imitators of God and walk in love', that is, walk in mercy, forgiveness, love. And these are the words of a child of light”.
"There are bright Christians, [who are] full of light – noted the Pope - who seek to serve the Lord in this light" and " there are dark Christians" who lead "a life of sin, a life distant from the Lord" and who use those four types of words that "belong to the evil one". "But there is a third group of Christians", who are not "neither light nor dark":
"They are the Christians of gray areas. And these Christians of gray areas are on one side first and then the other. People say of these: 'Is this person with God or the devil?' Huh? Always in the grey area. They are lukewarm. They are neither light nor dark. And God does not love these. In Revelation, the Lord says to these Christians of gray areas: 'No, you are neither hot nor cold. If only you were hot or cold. But because you are lukewarm – always in the gray areas- I will vomit you out of my mouth'. The Lord has strong words for these Christians of gray areas. 'I am a Christian, but without overdoing it!' they say, and in doing so cause so much harm, because their Christian witness is a witness that in the end only sows confusion, it sows a negative witness ".
Let us not be deceived by empty words – Pope Francis concluded - "we hear so many, some nice, well-articulated, but empty, without meaning". Instead let us behave as children of light. "It would do us all good to reflect on our words today and ask ourselves: "Am I a Christian of light? Am I a Christian of the dark? Am I a Christian of the gray areas? And thus we can take a step forward to meet the Lord".
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday morning, on the occasion of the unveiling of a bust of his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, in the Academy building at the Vatican. “Benedict XVI,” said Pope Francis, “[was] a great Pope: great for the power and penetration of his intellect, great for his significant contribution to theology, great for his love for the Church and of human beings, great for his virtue and piety.”
The unveiling of the bust came during the course of the Academicians’ Oct. 24-28 plenary meeting, dedicated to evolving concepts of nature.
Click below to hear our report
Pope Francis spoke to the theme of their gathering, noting that the Catholic intellectual tradition has always affirmed the fundamental compatibility of a natural order that unfolds and develops, with the idea that the universae has been made, and does not merely happen. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation,” he said. “The scienctist,” he continued, “must [nevertheless] be moved by a trust in the idea that nature hides, within her evolutionary mechanisms, potentialities that it is the task of intellect and freedom to discover and actuate, in order to achieve the [kind of] development that is in the design of the Creator.”
Pope Francis concluded with a word of encouragement, calling on all the to continue their work and to carry forward those “happy” theoretical and practical initiatives for the benefit of human beings, which he said bring honor to science and scientists.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered some reflections on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from Gospel according to St. Matthew (22:34-40).
“Today's Gospel reminds us that the whole law of God is summed up in love for God and neighbor,” said Pope Francis, adding, “You cannot love God without loving our neighbor and you cannot love your neighbor without loving God,” and explaining that the “novelty” of Christ’s teaching consists in the union of the two commandments. Pope Francis also recommended the reflection of his predecessor, Benedict XVI. on the teaching, which is found in paragraphs 16-18 of his first Encyclical letter, Deus caritas est.
Pope Francis went on to say, “Jesus completes the law of the covenant, which He unites in himself, in his flesh, divinity and humanity, in a single mystery of love,” and, “In the light of the word of Jesus, love is the measure of faith, and faith is the soul of love: we cannot separate the religious life – the life of piety – from that of service to our brothers and sisters – to those flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters we actually meet.”
Following the Angelus, Pope Francis recalled the beatification – on Saturday in Sao Paulo, Brazil – of Mother Assunta Marchetti: the Italian-born co-founder of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, known as “Scalabrinians” after the late 19 th century bishop of Piacenza, Giuseppe Scalabrini, who helped found the missionary congregation originally dedicated to maintaining Catholic faith and practice among emigres to the New World, which now focuses its missionary work on migrants, refugees and displaced persons.
“[Bl. Assunta Marchetti] saw Jesus present in the poor, in orphans, in the sick, in migrants, said Pope Francis. “We thank the Lord for this woman,” he continued, “a model of tireless missionary spirit and courageous dedication to the service of charity,” who serves as an example and a confirmation of the truth that we can and must seek the face of God in the brother and sister in need.”
Pope Francis also had greetings for pilgrims from all over Italy and from around the world, especially those of the Schoenstatt movement, with whom he met on Saturday, and for the Peruvian community in Rome, which came to the Angelus in procession with an image of El Senor de los Milagros – the Lord of Miracles – an image of Christ crucified that was painted by an anonymous freedman in the 17 th century in Lima, and that has become a focus of deep veneration and intense devotion, especially among Peruvians.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican) Without job there is no dignity - the dignity to bring bread home, which enables one to plan the future and decide to form a family. Pope Francis made the observation in a message to Italy’s national convention on the theme, “Hope amidst Precariousness,” organized by the Italian bishops’ conference in Salerno, Oct. 24-26. The Holy Father noted that in his meeting with person during his Italian visits he has come to touch with his hands the situation of many jobless youth, those on layoff scheme or casual workers. “This is not just an economic problem, but also the problem of dignity,” the Pope said, describing Italy’s economic crisis as ‘the passion of youth”. The culture of waste discards all that is unprofitable, and young people, he said, are discarded because they are without a job. However, the Pope said in this ‘quicksand of precariousness’, the Gospel prevents us from being robbed of hope, because this hope comes from God who became one of us in solidarity with all our precariousness. Pope Francis thus urged Italy’s youth to empower the Gospel in the social and cultural situation in order to foster a culture of encounter and solidarity.
(from Vatican Radio)...