Updated: 2 hours 11 min ago
(Vatican Radio) The first round of small language group work at the Synod of Bishops on the Family concluded on Thursday evening. Bishops, religious and lay men and women, together with delegates from other Christian Churches, spent two and a half days behind closed doors discussing the challenges facing families in different countries around the world today.
Bishop Tim Thornton of Truro in Cornwall, England is one of the 14 ‘fraternal delegates’ representing the worldwide Anglican Communion throughout the three-week meeting. He is co-chair of the English Anglican-Roman-Catholic Conversations and serves as president of the Association of Inter-Church Families. Philippa Hitchen asked him about some of the themes that have been emerging in the small group work….
Bishop Thornton says one of key things he’s hearing from his groups is the concern that the Synod document or Instrumentum Laboris, in its current form, has “a too narrowly Western perspective.”
He talks about the discussions in his group that have raised different perspectives from particular parts of the globe. He gives the example of the document’s focus on widowhood which assumes that widows are elderly, while in some parts of the globe Church leaders are facing particular problems with widows of a much younger age.
Rather than in one document, trying to describe the whole anthropological, sociological and cultural challenge, he says what is emerging is a suggestion that “what the Holy Father might want to say is to encourage each conference to do its own analysis” and bring that to the table to see what can be said together.
Bishop Thornton says in the Anglican world too “we can make the mistake of defining things through either an English or Western eye”. He speaks of experience of hearing so many different perspectives at the last Lambeth Conference and of the benefits of having dioceses in England linked with dioceses in different parts of the world….
Speaking of the tensions between those who do not want to see any changes in Church doctrine or practice and those who see a need for fresh approaches to current problems, Bishop Thornton says there are always those who have a more deductive or a more inductive way of doing theology.
He compares the Synod to the meeting of Anglican leaders from around the world that the Archbishop of Canterbury has called for in January, saying it is simply “one step in a longer process.” The key question, he stresses, is about “how willing are we to journey on with fellow Christians who have very different views”….
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) At the Synod of Bishops on the Family on Friday morning, participants presented the results of their small language group work that has been going on behind closed doors for the past couple of days. Each group has been discussing the first section of the Synod’s working document, or Instrumentum Laboris , focused on the challenges facing family life today.
Philippa Hitchen was listening in and talking to some of the bishops involved....
Who exactly are those rows of men with their red and purple hats, sitting in the Synod Hall for three whole weeks? Firstly, they’re family men, in the sense that they grew up with mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, in-laws, cousins, nephews and nieces, so they know only too well the difficulties and dysfunctionalities that family life can bring to us all.
Secondly, they’re men of God, so whatever other professional training and experience they bring, they’re men whose lives have touched by Christ and must let their words be inspired by His love.
Thirdly, they’re pastors of their people, whose task is to help families discover and live out their missionary faith, in the day-to-day realities that vary enormously from one place, one country, one continent to the next.
That was the self-portrait of one of the Synod fathers who presented the results of his small group work on Friday. Altogether there were 13 groups, working in five different languages, and they all spoke in positive terms of the small group atmosphere with lay men and women, plus non-Catholic participants too. They also talked of the challenge of bringing together such diverging views from right across the globe. Many were critical of a “too Western perspective” that they perceived in the Synod’s working document and several suggested that much greater autonomy must go to local bishops conferences to find creative solutions to family problems in their particular parts of the world.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia presented the results of one of the English language groups:
“We came to feel that there are issues that need to be addressed, analysis that needs to be done and decisions that need to be taken at the local or regional level.”
Another common theme was to recognize and encourage the positive in peoples’ lives, rather than to talk constantly about crisis and despair, even if families can no longer be neatly packaged into a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model that the Church has held up in the past. Archbishop Coleridge again:
“What’s really in crisis is our understanding of what marriage is and what the family is…It’s easy to look back to a golden age when there was mum, dad and three of four kids……that’s not the reality today…..”
Finally there was a lot of talk about language, words lost in translation and why it’s important to do away with the kind of ‘Church-speak’ that means nothing at all to young people today. Instead many bishops cited Pope Francis’ own down-to-earth, colourful choice of words that has made people from all countries and all cultures sit up discover a new, fresh face to the unchanging truths of the Church.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office, brought three prelates as guests on Friday to the daily media briefing on the progress of the Synod on the Family taking place at Vatican City. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manilla, Philippines and Archbishops Joseph E. of Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid, Spain, were present.
Click below to hear the report by Fr. Russell Pollitt, SJ
Cardinal Tagle told the Friday press briefing that he was impressed by what he heard in the small group work at the Synod on the Family. He said that there was a "freedom and openness" to the diverse contexts and situations that families find themselves in across the world. He said that the sharp criticism by one of the small groups, which called the document "chaotic" and said that the "Holy Father and people of God deserve something better," was to be expected as this was a working document.
Fr. Lombardi said that Pope Francis had made an important intervention before morning prayer asking for prayers especially for the Middle East. After morning prayer the bishops working groups reported on their discussions over the last two days on the first section of Instrumentum Laboris. Once the reports were completed the Fathers began to look at part two of the working document.
Archbishop Kurtz said that he found it very helpful to work in small groups early in the Synod. He said that this enabled delegates to engage early. Kurtz said many Fathers were concerned that the final document should reflect the concrens of the whole church and nnot be too "western". Kurtz said that migration had emerged as a strong theme and that the Fathers saw the need to call on governments to be welcoming and generous to migrants.
Archbishop Sierra said that the church needs to try and accompany families that immigrate more generously. Kurtz added that the Episcopal Conference of the United States is trying to engage the government and work towards more just laws on migration in America.
All three of the prelates affirmed the church’s teaching on the right to life and said that it was important the families who are struggling with unexpected pregnancies be accompanied pastorally.
Tagle said that this was a Synod in which the church was affirming its love and pastoral concern for families. He said that for some there was great expectation that there would be doctrinal pronouncements but that this was not what the Synod was about. He said it was about the support the church renders to the family. “We are affirming teaching not changing it, we are looking for liberating ways to give new life to families,” Tagle said. An important question, the Cardinal said, was “How do we help people live the doctrine?”
Questioned about the new synodal process the Fathers are using, the prelates agreed that it was working. Cardinal Tagle humorously said that even if there was a little confusion it was “good to be confused from time to time!” He said that the new process was more effective because the bishops dealt with smaller pieces of the text at any given time. “We don't have to discuss whole document after listening to three hundred interventions first,” he said. The discussions, Kurtz agreed, were now easier because the focus was on smaller parts of the document.
The prelates told the media that, without turning a blind eye to the challenges, the Fathers wanted to celebrate the family and the many families who are living faithfully in difficult conditions.
(from Vatican Radio)...
Vatican City, 9 October 2015 (VIS) – His Beatitude Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and head of the Synod of the Chaldean Church offered a meditation during this morning's prayer before the resumption of the work of the Synod. The Patriarch commented on the reading from St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, emphasising the apostle's wish to visit and bring the Gospel to the Christian community in Rome. In this way he affirmed that “living the faith in communion brings consolation”.
“Paul is an apostle who feels that he is sent by God”, he said. “For him, the Gospel is an act of worship, and therefore it is praying, being in communion with God, loving, obeying, and living and bearing witness to the joy of proclaiming the Gospel in everyday life. So, one is not ashamed of the Gospel. He does not subordinate his proclamation to human opportunity or hypocritical respect, but rather considers the Gospel to be a gift of inestimable value that reveals God's justice and grace”.
“Faith is the basic condition for being justified and becoming children of God, as it is faith that gives meaning to life”, he continued. It is not “a static fact, or speculation, but rather an inner vision, a profound mystical relationship, lived in the details of difficult everyday life. Faith, like love, is a commitment and must grow day by day in the long journey of life”. On reconciling love and justice, the Patriarch remarked that “if love does not exceed justice, the Gospel becomes empty. It is enough to hear of the experience of Iraqi Christians who left everything they had in one night in order to stay true to their faith”....
Vatican City, 9 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning, during the fourth General Congregation, the various Circuli Minori – thirteen in total – presented the results of their reflections on the first part of the Instrumentum Laboris examining the mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world.
In general the rapporteurs from the various groups, which were divided according to language (English, French,Spanish, German and Italian) considered that it was necessary to offer, as Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, writes, “a less negative reading of history, culture and the situation of the family at this time. True, there are negative forces at work at this time in history and in the various cultures of the world; but that is far from the full story. If it were the full story, all the Church could do would be to condemn. There are also forces which are positive, even luminous, and these need to be identified since they may well be the signs of God in history”.
“The Church does not inhabit a world out of time, as Vatican Council II, 'the Council of history', recognised”, notes the prelate. “Nor does the Church inhabit a world outside human cultures; the Church shapes cultures and cultures shape the Church. In considering marriage and the family here and now, we were conscious of the need to address the facts of history and the realities of cultures – with both the eyes of faith and the heart of God. That is what it has meant for us to read the signs of the times”.
Another view expressed in various working groups is the need to make greater use of Scriptural language, which “can be closer to the realities of the daily experience of families and can become a bridge between faith and life”, avoiding expressions deemed too “ecclesiastical”. This “would help to understand the nature of God's dream that families are called to make their own and to realise that in the difficulties of life they can place their trust in a God who neither disappoints nor abandons anyone”, explains Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. The prelate also observes that “an analysis of the situation of the family should recognise how, with the help of grace, families who are far from perfect, living in an imperfect world, do actually realise their vocation, even though they may fail along their journey. As members of the group we shared a reflection, each of us on the experience on our own family. What emerged was far from a stereotype of an 'ideal family', but rather a collage of families different in their social, ethnic, and religious background. Amid many difficulties our families gave us the gift of love and the gift of faith”.
Family men, men of faith and pastors: according to this view, expressed by Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Canada, priests and bishops must guide their pastoral ministry. “We are all, first and foremost, family men”, he said. “We have parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins. Therefore, the families of which we speak are not alien to us, they form part of our lives. This must be transparent in our language, in our texts, in our care and compassion for the families of the world. There is a danger of talking about the 'family' as if it were something external to us. We are men of faith. We do not claim to be psychologists, sociologists or economists, although some of us are educated in these fields. We speak primarily as men of faith and this must be seen in the first analytical part of the document. We are pastors. Our concern is that the mission that Christ entrusted to His Church, the mission that is the Church, is always fulfilled in our world today. All the efforts of the Synod must be directed towards this objective. All the documents that we draw up must conform to this fundamental concern. In particular, we would like to help our families to answer two questions: regarding vocation, who are you? And regarding the mission: what are you doing?”.
“Our final document must give hope to our families, showing the confidence we have in them, and must inspire trust in us. We must avoid causing some people to feel excluded from our care, because all families participate in the mission of the Church. We must remember that the families in the Bible are at times dysfunctional, and recall what the Word of God realised in and for them. God can carry out the same miracles today”.
Some groups observe that the analysis of the situation of the family in the Instrumentum Laboris does not reflect a universal condition, but rather a principally Western and in particular European perspective. “The historical contexts and cultures are not the same”, writes Bishop Laurent Ulrich. “It cannot be said that the number of marriages and baptisms is declining throughout the world. And we cannot speak about the same form of the Church's presence in our respective societies. The possibilities of sharing faith in our countries are not all identical, and neither is the public witness that can be given. Similarly, the very reasons that make this difficult are not all the same: the freedom of action in 'free' countries does not mean that it is truly recognised and may lead to contradictory attitudes. Some choose a position of affirming a strong identity, whereas others select a patient but not always well-understood dialogue. In other countries religious or cultural pressure on Christians does not mean that they are silenced, but rather that after many centuries they must face a painful path”.
The theme of Christian families in the Middle East is present in a significant number of the reports from the Circuli Minores, who aside from offering their solidarity, also warn that the flight of these families from the region would put an end to a millennia-long Christian presence.
The diversity of socio-cultural contexts and pastoral situations is also noted by the group whose rapporteur is Msgr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier, S.J. He underlines that this diversity requires an articulation of what is of a universal order and of a particular order, a strong common word able to respond to particular situations. In this respect the group proposes that the episcopal conferences hold a determined power to allow their pastors to be good Samaritans in their ecclesial service. The Cardinal also asks the Synod to facilitate pathways “for the family to live its vocation and its mission according to God's plan and the teaching of the Church”, and to seek to provide “more coherence to the grouping of theological and canonical texts, that seem to be juxtaposed rather than linked together, so as to simplify their expression”.
In the reports from all groups, mention is made of the need for States to pay greater attention to the needs of families and above all to their weakest members, such as the elderly or disabled. Some express concern regarding so-called gender theory which, as Archbishop Durocher writes, “has developed within sociology and philosophy, in an attempt to analyse various human and social phenomena, and may enrich our understanding of the world. However, when these theories become an absolute … they lead to the imposition of a point of view that denies the relationship between sexual identity and the sexual beings we are in our bodies”.
In the Hispanic group, whose rapporteur is the Panamanian Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, notes among other issues “the challenge of the renewal of our Church”. “We have failed in 'Christian formation' and in 'education in faith', and this leads to marriage with many gaps and omissions. This cannot be said to be the family. And it is not simply a question of preparation as there are many couples who, without preparation, have been faithful and happy, and others who are well-prepared and have ended up separating”. The cardinal also speaks about the rupture in the unity between “love, sexuality and procreation”, and notes also a separation from its educational dimension. “The relationship between love, sexuality, marriage, family and the education of children has broken down”.
The Italian Synod Fathers, like many others, note their concern regarding the migratory phenomenon, which affects many families fleeing from war and poverty, and increasingly involves other families and the Church. The issue of bioethics is also prominent, especially among couples who are unable to have children. After reaffirming that the equal dignity of men and women has its roots in the Gospel, the Italian group, whose rapporteur is Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, highlights the need to condemn “the exploitation of child labour, child soldiers and the female body (by, for instance, prostitution, surrogacy, violence and murder, and rape as an act of war)”.
Finally, he warns of the need to affirm that the Church has a positive view of sexuality, as it is an expression of the “symphonic tension between eros and agape”....
(Vatican Radio) The Christian must discern all things, even when everything is going well. That was at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily at Mass on Friday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:
At his Friday morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis focused his remarks on the necessity of discernment of situations, whether it seems to come from God or from the evil one “who always seeks to deceive, to make us choose the wrong path”.
In Friday’s Gospel reading, Jesus drives out a demon, doing good to the man once afflicted, but some from the crowd of witnesses accuse him of being in league with Beelzebul.
“There was another group,” the Holy Father said, “that did not appreciate him and sought to interpret Jesus’ words and actions in a different way, against Jesus. Some, for envy, others for doctrinal rigidity, others because they were afraid that the Romans would come and massacre them; for many reasons they sought to distance Jesus’ authority from the people, even with slander as in this case.”
Against such misinterpretations of a situation, Pope Francis invited Christians to discern the roots of any given situation, because in the life of faith “temptations always return, the Evil Spirit never tires”.
“The Evil One is hidden,” the Pope said, “he comes with his very educated friends, knocks at the door, asks for permission, comes in, and lives with that person. Drop by drop, he gives him instructions” on how to “do things with relativism”.
Pope Francis continued, saying “Anesthetize the conscience. This is a great evil. When the Evil Spirit succeeds in anesthetizing the conscience, it is then he can claim a true victory, for he has become the master of that conscience.”
What can one do against such attacks? “Watchfulness,” the Holy Father said, “The Church counsels us to always make an examination of conscience: what happened today in my heart because of this?” “Discernement”, he concluded, “From where do these comments, words, teachings come? Who says this? Let us ask the Lord for this grace: the grace of discernment and of watchfulness.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made a prayerful appeal for reconciliation and peace in the Middle East and Africa on Friday, at the opening of the morning session of the Synod assembly in the Vatican. The appeal came as the Holy Father addressed the Fathers and other participants in the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Friday morning, at the start of their second round of meetings in General Congregation.
Click below to hear the Holy Father's appeal
Below, please find Vatican Radio’s English translation of the Holy Father’s remarks
Dear Synod Fathers, dear brothers and sisters,
In resuming this morning the work of the General Congregation, I invite you to dedicate the prayer of the Third Hour to the intention of reconciliation and peace in the Middle East. We are painfully struck and we follow with great concern what is happening in Syria, in Iraq, in Jerusalem and the West Bank, where we see an escalation of violence that involves innocent civilians and continues to fuel a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions. War brings destruction and multiplies the sufferings of peoples. Hope and progress come only from choices for peace. Let us unite, therefore, in an intense and confident prayer to the Lord, a prayer that intends to be an expression of solidarity at once with [our] brother Patriarchs and Bishops from those regions, who are present here [at the Synod Assembly], as well as with their priests and faithful, and to everyone who lives there.
At the same time, together with the [whole] Synod, I send a heartfelt appeal to the international community, that the nations of the world might find a way effectively to help the parties concerned to broaden their horizons beyond the immediate interests and to use the instruments of international law [and] diplomacy, to resolve the conflicts underway at present.
Finally, I wish to extend our prayer also to those areas of the African continent, which are experiencing analogous situations of conflict. May Mary, Queen of Peace and loving Mother of her children intercede for all.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) On Thursday Oct. 8 Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckley of Accra, Ghana, said that the world needs to be patient with Africa when it comes to dealing with issues like homosexuality. “Give countries time to deal with issues from our own cultural perspectives,” he said. He added that the dignity and rights of all God’s son and daughters need to be upheld.
The Synod Fathers continued to work in groups on Thursday. Archbishop Edoardo Menchelli from Ancona-Osimo, Italy, told the briefing that there was an “open fraternal discussion” in his group and that there were divergent views emerging amongst the Fathers. The bishops, he said, were discussing the first part of Instrumentum Laboris on the current situation of the family from a wide perspective.
Patriarch Ignace Joseph Younan of Lebanon said that the Middle East was experiencing the opposite of the African Church where numbers are steadily growing. In the Middle East numbers are declining as young people and families want to “get out of hell” - they are being persecuted in tragic situations in places like Iraq and Syria. He said that the Church in the region felt helpless and deplores the fact that they cannot convince young people to stay in the places where Christianity was born.
Archbishop Palmer-Buckley said that African prelates are not blocking issues – like the admission of the divorced and remarried to communion and a greater sensitivity towards homosexual people. He said that the African Church was at the Synod to talk about how it feels regarding these issues and the pastoral practice of the Church. “We are here to share our view, we endorse the teaching of the Church,” he said. “The African delegates respect what Cardinal Erdo did and presented to us,” Palmer-Buckle said, referring to Erdo’s Relatio at the opening session of the Synod.
Arcbishop Menchelli said that talking about the role of women in the Church and homosexuality was not out of context at the Synod. He said that if one examines the mission and vocation of the family you realise that a gay brother, for example, is part of the family and impacts on all in the family. He said that the pastoral role of women was equally important but that the ordination of women deacons raised sacramental and theological concerns that would need to be studied.
Fr. Lombardi, the director of the Holy See’s Press Office, informed the media that the final list of the bishop’s working groups had been published. He also told the media that the office had solved the information technology problems and that all the contributions and interviews done at the Synod are now available on the website in various languages.
The Synod Fathers said that they did not feel the Synod was “western” at the expense of Africa. The Synod, they agreed, was universal in its approach. Palmer-Buckle said that the concerns of the European Church are the concerns of Africa and vice versa. He added that often “everything that’s good in Africa is not good enough for European media but anything that is black is what’s good enough.”
Archbishop Menchelli pointed out that both the Western and African Church face similar issues. In Africa marriage is a long process and therefore takes time – often traditional marriages take place and only much later a church marriage. The Archbishop said that marriage is often also delayed - for different reasons - in the West. This is a mutual concern even though the causes may differ.
Fr. Lombardi said the Synod Fathers would return to a plenary session on Friday morning where the various working groups would report on their discussions.
(from Vatican Radio)...
Vatican City, 8 October 2015 (VIS) – Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, today spoke in Brescia, Italy during the meeting entitled “Dialogue between Peoples in the name of Paul VI”, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of Blessed Paul VI's visit to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 4 October 1965.
The prelate noted that a few months after the beginning of his papacy, in the encyclical “Ecclesiam Suam”, Paul VI proposed dialogue between the Church and the contemporary world as the cornerstone of his pontificate, assigning a fundamental role to dialogue between peoples to guarantee peace and equitable human development. “Pope Montini saw the theme of peace as an urgent and imperative duty, emphasised both by doctrinal reflections on the role of the Church in the contemporary world and the development of international institutions, which were reborn after the interruption of the second World War and grew rapidly in number and quality. We must not forget that the backdrop to Paul VI's commitment to peace, and in contrast to it, was the threat of a total nuclear war, the unfettered arms race and the difficult and at times tragic crisis of the Cold War, such as the raising of the Berlin wall, the Cuban missile crisis, the beginning of the United States' involvement in Vietnam, and many other minor conflicts”.
With regard to dialogue between States and peace-building, Archbishop Gallagher recalled Paul VI's memorable message to the United Nations in 1965 in which he indicated four key points in the mission of the institution: offering States a formula for peaceful co-existence, a sort of international citizenship; working to unite nations, without exclusion; following the formula of equality, so that no State may be superior to the others; and considering the legal pact that unites the member States of the United Nations as a solemn oath that must change the future history of the world: “No more war, no more war”. To these points, the Pope adds another two points relating to the development and dignity of humanity: peace cannot be constructed solely through politics and the balance of forces and interests, but rather with the spirit, with ideas, and with works of peace. It involves working for development and for the rights and fundamental duties of humanity. International dialogue is concerned primarily with the issue of human life, which is sacred.
In the second part of the encyclical “Populorum Progressio”, on the development of peoples, Paul VI explains economic relations with great lucidity, highlighting finance and credit on the one hand, and international trade on the other, as priority areas for joint work. He underlines, among other things, the need for a global fund to assist poor countries, funded by richer nations principally through the limitation of military spending. With regard to international commerce, he observes that the financial and technical efforts to assist developing countries will be illusory if their results are cancelled by the interplay of trade relations between rich and poor countries.
“It is well known that Pope Montini viewed nationalism and racism as basic obstacles to the construction of a fraternal international community, based on the United Nations Charter, on an equitable legal, financial and commercial multilateral system and on respect for human rights”, noted Archbishop Gallagher.
The prelate went on to refer to the international presence that the Holy See acquired during Paul VI's papacy, entering as an Observer in the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1964, participating then as a member in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and often as an observer in many international bodies and at many conventions, from the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva, the International Labour Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the Council of Europe and the Organisation of American States.
Again between the years 1963 and 1978 the Holy See participated in the development of the international system for the protection of human rights, through its adhesion to the Convention against Racial Discrimination and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and its participation in the Conference for Cooperation and Security in Europe.
Blessed Paul VI, added Archbishop Gallagher, developed the progress made by St. John XXIII in the opening of the East European countries, adding to the objective of recognition of the rights of the Holy See, the desire to promote religious freedom, including the freedom of the Catholic Church, and to favour peace and harmony between peoples. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, ratified by the Holy See on 25 February 1971, formed part of the efforts made to contain the nuclear threat and the arms race in general, but also served to establish channels for dialogue with the authorities of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Finally, the Holy See, as a State, was invited by the Warsaw Pact to participate in the Helsinki Final Act, which laid the foundations for the basic exercise of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or religious belief for the citizens of Eastern Europe....
(Vatican Radio) The work of the Synod of Bishops on the Family continued behind closed doors on Thursday as participants shared ideas and experiences within their small language groups. The results of discussions within those 13 small groups will be presented at a General Congregation in the main Synod Hall on Friday morning, marking the end of the first stage focused on the challenges facing families in different parts of the world today.
The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, heads the bishops conference of England and Wales and is serving as moderator of one of the English language groups. Philippa Hitchen talked to him about his hopes for the outcome of this three week meeting
Cardinal Nichols says he hopes, above all, that the Synod will maintain a positive view of the family. He recalls the Pope’s words at the preparatory prayer vigil on Saturday when he talked about the family as a light and said if we begin to see it as a problem, then we risk losing sight of our proper reference point…
The cardinal says that the consultations carried out among families in England Wales highlighted “the passionate love people have for their families”. Whatever problems they face, he says, the family remains “the most important thing in their lives”,”. If that is true within families themselves, he adds, “that’s what we have to learn in the Synod”.
Asked about the changes in methodology and greater emphasis on small group work, Cardinal Nichols says the changes are important because they recognize that “this is part two” of the Synod process and not a re-run of last October’s meeting. Having a text to work on and “more time to get to know each other”, with fuller participation of the women and married couples, is “really taking a forward step,” he adds.
Responding to critics’ suggestion that the Synod process is unlikely to come up with any real developments in Church teaching on the family, the cardinal recalls St Augustine’s words that the Church is “always ancient and always new”. We don’t want to lose “the precious teaching of the Church,” he insists, but at the same time we want a fresh appreciation “of the joy that people have and find and make in their families”. That focus must come to the fore both in the Synod and on the world stage, he believes, so that governments and cultures can “look again at how they appreciate the family as the fundamental building block of society.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) God does not abandon the righteous, while those who sow evil are like strangers, whose names heaven remembers not. This is the lesson Pope Francis drew from the readings of the day at Mass Thursday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
Click below to hear our report
A courageous young mother with a husband and three children – and a tumor – “one of the ugly ones” – that keeps her nailed to her bed. “Why?” An elderly woman, prayerfully pious in her heart, whose son was murdered by the Mafia.
Why do good things happen to bad people?
Pope Francis on Thursday used this perennial query of the heart that loves good and desires to know God’s plan, as the way into the mystery of iniquity and its relation to God’s providence, justice and mercy. Drawing on the reading from the prophet, Malachi, in which the Lord rebukes the people, saying, “You have defied me in word, says the LORD, yet you ask, ‘What have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God, and what do we profit by keeping his command, and going about in penitential dress in awe of the LORD of hosts? Rather must we call the proud blessed; for indeed evildoers prosper, and even tempt God with impunity,’” Pope Francis said:
“How many times do we see this reality in bad people, in people who do evil, and seem to do well in life: they are happy, they have everything they want, they want for nothing. Why Lord? This is one of the many questions we have. Why does this brazen evildoer who cares nothing for God nor for neighbor, who is an unjust person – even mean – and things go well in his whole life, he has everything he wants, while we, who want to do good, have so many problems?”
The Lord watches over the righteous
Pope Francis discovered the answer in the responsorial Psalm – Psalm 1 – which proclaims, “Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD.” Pope Francis went on to say:
“Now we do not see the fruits of this suffering people, this people carrying the cross, as on that Good Friday and Holy Saturday the fruits of the crucified Son of God, the fruits of His sufferings were yet to be seen: and whatever He does, turns out well; and what does the Psalm say of the wicked, of those for whom we think everything is going fine? ‘Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.’”
Only an adjective
This ruin, this scattering and oblivion, which is the end of the wicked, is one Pope Francis found dramatically and emphatically stressed in the Gospel parable of Lazarus – the symbol of misery with no escape, to whom the rich reveler refused even the scraps from his table:
“It is curious: that [rich] man’s name is never spoken. He is just an adjective: he is a rich man (It. ricco , Gr. πλούσιος). Of the wicked, in God’s record book, there is no name: he is an evil one, a con man, a pimp ... They have no name. They only have adjectives. All those, who try to go on the way of the Lord, will rather be with His Son, who has the name: Jesus Saviour. It is a name that is difficult to understand, inexplicable for the trial of the Cross and for all that He suffered for us.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) At the press briefing today the Holy See Press Office announced that the Synod Fathers had elected chairpersons and moderators for their “circuli minores” (small groups). The thirteen groups were determined by language. The groups began to work on Wednesday morning on the first part of Instrumentum Laboris which outlines the context in which contemporary family life is lived.
Listen to the report by Fr. Russell Pollitt SJ:
Jesuit Father and director of the Holy See Press Office, Federico Lombardi, was joined by Archbishops Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Laurent Ulrich of Lille, and Salvador Piñeiro García-Calderón of Ayacucho o Huamanga of Peru. Fr. Lombardi invites some of the Synod Fathers as guests to the daily briefings.
García-Calderón said the Fathers had exchanged views and opinions among themselves in his Spanish-speaking group. He said the work happened in a “fraternal atmosphere” and that the bishops “think the same on many issues.”
Archbishop Charles Chaput gave some reflections on the recent World Congress of Families in Philadelphia. He said that he was unsure of the impact the Congress would have on the Synod but that he does know it “had an impact on the Holy Father and a big impact on me.” He said that the people who had come to Philadelphia, although chosen by their respective dioceses, celebrated “what the Church understands about family life.” The Arcbishop said there were roars of approval when people heard what the Church traditionally taught at the Congress. “We must affirm the ninety-nine when we go looking for the one,” he said.
Chaput said that it was good to have non-voting members in the working group, especially women, who helped the bishops come to a better understanding of family life.
Archbishop Ulrich explained that his group was made up of people speaking the same language but culturally very different. “Just because we speak the same language does not mean we find agreement and therefore we have to discuss and harmonise.” Ulrich added that he found the atmosphere in the group conducive to work.
Chaput said that the issue of language was raised a number of times. He said the official English translation from Italian had to be carefully studied so that the bishops could be sure that it captured the sentiments of the original Italian document. “There are serious issues we don’t understand, so this is a problem. We cannot vote if we do not know what we are voting for,” he said.
Questions were asked about how the Synod would use more sensitive language when talking about, for example, homosexual people. García-Calderón said the language of love must be spoken. Chaput said he did not know how this would be done but that the Fathers had to be careful. “The language is a big issue, it's not just sensitivity to the world but also sensitivity to the Gospel and the truth of the Gospel and we have to be careful in the language we use to protect both,” Chaput said.
Fr. Lombardi said that the interventions of prelates at the Synod were not being distributed by the press office. He said that some of them are putting their papers on blogs and other websites and this was at their own discretion. He said that the interventions of the married couples, present at the Synod, would be made available to the media.
Archbishop Chaput added that he has never been to a meeting where there is no lobby for a certain direction. “That’s going on, I can assure you. That’s what happens when human beings get together. We shouldn’t be scandalised or surprised by that, as along as it is done upfront and honestly and not in a way that tries to win, rather than arrive at the truth.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Participants at the Synod of Bishops on the Family on Wednesday got down to their closed door work in the 13 Circuli Minores, or small working groups divided into five different languages. Together with input from the lay men and women, and non-Catholic representatives, the bishops are discussing the first of three sections focused on the challenges facing families today.
Professor Pia Matthews is one of just two women named as experts at this Synod on the family - she lectures in Healthcare Ethics at St. Mary's University College in London and teaches bioethics to seminary students. She talked to Philippa Hitchen about the professional and personal perspectives she’ll be sharing during the small group work…
Professor Matthews says she’ll be sharing her experience of forming priests in seminaries but also her personal experience of looking after a child with disability so she says she’s very interested in issues of inclusion, “how we are welcoming as parish communities, how everybody is recognized in their full human dignity”…..
She believes the family has a vital role in “affirming and confirming the dignity of every human being from the very beginning to the natural end”…
Speaking of her work with seminarians, Professor Matthews describes the kinds of bioethics questions that parish priests must be equipped to answer – from issues around IVF to concerns for elderly hospitalized relatives who may have their food and fluids withdrawn. But underneath all these practical questions, she notes, “is a much deeper principle about our relationship with God and with other people”.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., says the opening days of the Synod of Bishops are going smoothly. “I think we’re moving along very well. We’ve had very good discussions in the Aula. Many, many of the points that were raised contribute positively to trying to find a better way to say what we want to say. The rest of them reinforced what’s already there. So far, this has been a very positive meeting.”
In an interview with Vatican Radio’s Bernd Hagenkord, S.J., Cardinal Wuerl spoke about the atmosphere in the small groups, which began their discussions on Tuesday. “Now we’re in the small language groups. We’re just beginning. And I think we’re already beginning to sense, in our small group, a sense of solidarity around what it is we want to say, and a consensus where are the major points to be underlined. We’re just beginning, but we’re off to a good start.”
Asked about his predictions for the Synod, Cardinal Wuerl said he hoped “that out of this whole discussion will come a recognition that while we have a very clear doctrinal basis for our appreciation of marriage, equally part of the revelation is God’s mercy.” He also expressed his hope that the Synod would address the need to respond pastorally “to all of the people whose marriage is not the ideal, whose lives more reflect the brokenness of the human condition than they reflect the beauty of the ideal.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square – the first of three Wednesday Audiences scheduled to take place during the course of the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to reflecting on the family in the life of the Church and of society.
“During this period,” explained Pope Francis, “the catecheses will be reflections inspired by some aspects of the relationship – which we may certainly define as indissoluble – between the Church and the family, with a view to the common good of the whole Christian community.”
Click below to hear our report
Pope Francis went on to say that family life, like the life of the Church, is a pilgrimage: he explained that, when families journey along the way of the Lord, they offer a fundamental witness to God’s love, and they deserve the full commitment and support of the Church.
The Holy Father also considered that the family is at once the domestic Church and the school of virtue in which we learn what it means – practically and with a view to our ultimate purpose and calling as creatures made for God – to be social. It was a point emphasized in the English-language summary read after the main catechesis in Italian. “In the family we learn of the bonds which unite us, of fidelity, sincerity, trust, cooperation and respect, even when difficulties abound,” said Pope Francis.
The Holy Father went on to say that, even though families care for society’s most vulnerable members as a matter of course in living out their natural vocation and mission, political and economic life today does not always support the family, and seems to have lost the ability to incorporate the virtues of family life into the common life of society. “The Church today identifies, in this precise point, the historical sense of her mission in regard to the family and the authentic spirit of family: starting from a careful revision of life, which concerns the Church herself.”
“You could say that the ‘family spirit’ is a constitution for the Church,” continued Pope Francis. “This is what Christianity must show to the world, and so must Christianity truly be.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square – the first of three Wednesday Audiences scheduled to take place during the course of the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops , dedicated to reflecting on the family in the life of the Church and of society.
Below, please find the official English-language summary of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks
During the Synod of Bishops, I would like to reflect on some aspects of the profound relationship between the Church and the family, with a view to the common good of society. When families journey along the way of the Lord, they offer a fundamental witness to God’s love, and they deserve the full commitment and support of the Church. In the family we learn of the bonds which unite us, of fidelity, sincerity, trust, cooperation and respect, even when difficulties abound. Indeed it is in family life that the most vulnerable of society are cared for. And yet, political and economic life today does not always support the family, and seems to have lost the ability to incorporate the virtues of family life into the common life of society. Here the Church is called to exercise her mission by first examining to what extent she is living as the family of God. Like Saint Peter, the Church is called to be a fisher of men, and so too needs a new type of net. Families are this net. They free us from the sea of loneliness and indifference, so that we can all experience the freedom of being children of God. May the Church go out into the deep, confident that the catch will be great. And may the Synod Fathers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, encourage the Church to cast out her net with confidence and faith in the Word of God.
(from Vatican Radio)...
“Family spirit” is like “a
constitutional charter for the Church”. Indeed, “this is how Christianity must
appear, and this is how it must be”. The
Pope stated this in the catechesis given during the General Audience on
Wednesday, 7 October, in St Peter’s Square. The following is a translation of
the Holy Father’s address, which was given in Italian. Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning! Just a few days ago the Synod of Bishops
opened on the theme: “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and
in the contemporary world”. The family that walks in the way of the Lord is
fundamental to the witness of God’s love and therefore deserves all the
dedication the Church is capable of. The Synod is called to interpret, for
today, this concern and this attention of the Church. Let us accompany the
entire path of the Synod first of all with our prayer and our interest. In this
period the catecheses reflection will draw inspiration from certain aspects of
the relationship — which we might well
call indissoluble! — between the Church and the family, whose horizon is open
to the good of the entire Christian community. An
attentive look at the everyday life of today’s men and women immediately shows
the omnipresent need for a healthy injection of “family spirit”. Indeed, the
form of the relationship — civil, economic, juridical, professional, civic —
seems quite rational, formal, organized, but also very “dehydrated”, arid,
anonymous. At times it becomes unbearable. While seeking to be inclusive in its
forms, in reality it abandons more and more people to loneliness and discards
is why, for the whole of society, the family opens a much more human prospect: it opens its sons
and daughters’ eyes — and not only sight but also all the other senses — to
life, representing a vision of the human relationship built on the free
covenant of love. The family posits the need for the bonds of loyalty, sincerity,
trust, cooperation, respect. It
encourages its members to plan an inhabitable world and belief in trusting
relationships, even in difficult conditions; it teaches them to honour one’s
word, to respect each individual, to share within one’s personal limitations
and those of others. We are all aware of the irreplaceable family attention for
the littlest, most vulnerable, most wounded, and even the most debilitated
members, in living their lives. In society, those who practice these attitudes
have assimilated them from the family spirit, certainly not through competition
and the desire for self-fulfillment. Well,
although knowing all this, the family is not accorded due importance — or
recognition, or support — in the political and economic organization of
contemporary society. Furthermore, I would like to say: not only does the
family not receive adequate recognition, but it no longer engenders learning!
At times it might be said that, with all its science, its technology, modern
society is no longer able to translate this knowledge into better forms of
civil coexistence. Not only is the organization of ordinary life increasingly
thwarted by a bureaucracy completely irrelevant to fundamental human bonds but,
even social and political customs often show signs of degradation —
aggressiveness, vulgarity, contempt —
which are well below the threshold of even a minimal family education. In such
circumstances, the opposite extremes of this abasement of relationships —
namely technocratic obtuseness and amoral familism — join and incite each other. This is a paradox. The
Church identifies today, at this exact point, the historical meaning of her
mission with regard to the family and to the authentic family spirit: beginning
from a careful review of life, which examines itself. One could say that the
“family spirit” is a constitutional charter for the Church: this is how
Christianity must appear, and this is how it
must be. It is written in bold characters: “you who were far off” — St
Paul says — [...] are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow
citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:17, 19).
The Church is and must be the family of God. Jesus,
when he called Peter to follow him, told him that he would make him a “fisher
of men”; and for this reason a new type of net is needed. We should say that
today families are one of the most important nets for the mission of Peter and
of the Church. This is not a net that takes one prisoner! On the contrary, it
frees people from the cruel waters of abandonment and indifference, which drown
many human beings in the sea of loneliness and indifference. Families know well
the feeling of dignity conferred by being sons and daughters and not slaves,
nor strangers, not just a number on an identity card. From
here, from the family, Jesus resumes his passage among human beings to persuade
them that God has not forgotten them. From here Peter draws the strength for
his ministry. From here the Church, obeying the Teacher’s word, puts out to
fish in the deep waters, certain that, if she does so, the catch will be
miraculous. May the enthusiasm of the Synod Fathers, enlivened by the Holy
Spirit, foster the impetus of a Church that abandons the old nets and puts out
again to fish, trusting in the word of her Lord. Let us pray earnestly for this! Christ, after all, promised and
encourages us: even if bad fathers do not deny their hungry children bread, how
much more will God give the Spirit to those who — imperfect as they are — ask
him with fervent persistence (cf. Lk
the catechesis, the Holy Father greeted various groups in the Square: I
offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and
visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Scotland,
Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, the Netherlands, Norway, Nigeria,
Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Canada and the United States. I ask you to continue to pray for the Synod
on the Family, and to recommit your families to Christ. May you always be witnesses to his mercy and
love in the world. God bless you all!...
(Vatican Radio) Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. opened the daily press conference by explaining what had happened in the morning session. He said that the general secretary of the Synod, Cardinal Baldisseri, had explained “certain processes of the methodology” and its new elements. Lombardi said that Pope Francis also thought it was important for him to make a contribution and so he too said a few words.
“The Holy Father thought it important to say that what we are doing here must be seen as a continuation of last year,” Lombardi said. Pope Francis said that the group work, which the Synod Fathers begin on Tuesday afternoon, is going to be very important. The Pope reminded the Fathers that “Catholic doctrine on marriage was not called into question in the previous sitting of the Synod” and that “the Synod is not about one single issue – Eucharist for the divorced and remarried – but many issues and we must take them all into account.”
Fr. Lombardi listed different themes which arose in the contributions made during the session. He highlighted a number of them which included the passing on of the faith inter-generationally, migration, domestic violence, war, poverty and polygamy.
Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is the English-speaking Media Attaché of the Holy See, said that the comments made by the Synod Fathers were brief. Each is only allowed to speak for three minutes which “helps foster clarity.” He said that some interventions suggested that there had been an over emphasis on the problems the family faces and that one of the Fathers suggested that we acknowledge the “beauty and joy” of family life. “Some of the interventions suggested we should be more inclusionary in our language, especially in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Gay persons are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, neighbours and colleagues,” Rosica said.
“There was also a suggestion that the third form or penance, general absolution, be used widely in the Year of Mercy,” said Rosica. He pointed out and clarified that these were suggestions which “might be considered by the Fathers.”
At the end of the briefing the panel was asked if the question of the admission of divorced and remarried Catholics to the Eucharist was still open to discussion. Archbishop Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council of Social Communication, said that the issue was open. “It is open on a pastoral level but remember what the Pope said about doctrine,” he said. Asked if the reception of the Eucharist by divorced and remarried persons was a “doctrine or a discipline” Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, replied saying that different people may see this differently and that it was part of the work of the Synod to discuss this.
Archbishop Durocher went on to say that the bishops were all united in acknowledging that there is a gap between contemporary culture and church teaching. Archbishop Celli said that it was important for the church to find ways of entering into dialogue with the world. “We need to speak about what the Church teaches but must also avoid a ghetto mentality.”
Fr. Lombardi was asked if Pope Francis was going to participate in a small group. He said that the Pope did not normally attend small groups but that he was a Pope of surprises so “he may also surprise us!”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) On Tuesday afternoon, participants at the Synod of Bishops on the family move into small language group discussions, following on from one and a half days of presentations at the General Congregations. Philippa Hitchen takes a look at some of the key issues that have emerged during this first phase of the three week encounter....
There’s no easy way to summarize the 72 interventions by Synod participants that took place over the past 24 hours. But I think it is possible, in broad brushstrokes, to distinguish two ways in which these Church leaders are reflecting on the challenges facing families today.
The first is a philosophical approach, starting with Scripture and doctrine to formulate solutions to perceived problems of secular culture threatening Catholic beliefs and traditions. If we open the door to that secular mentality, one bishop warned dramatically, then the wolves will come in.
A second approach, put forward by other bishops, is to start from the profound changes taking place in society and ask how the Church can use Scripture and tradition to remain relevant to peoples’ lives today. Not living in fear of a hostile and godless culture, but rather engaging with it, to offer the Good News of the Gospel to anyone and everyone searching for meaning in their lives.
From that perspective, the introductory presentation on Monday by Cardinal Peter Erdo can be seen as an exquisite and classical presentation of Church teaching on the family - but, as Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, former head of the Canadian bishops conference, pointed out - it is just one piece of the puzzle. Rather than the final word for the bishops, as some have tried to suggest, it’s simply a starting point, from which the small language groups now begin their discussions. It’s within this smaller, more interactive setting that every participant – lay men and women, plus the non-Catholic representatives – can share ways of upholding Church teachings while remaining in touch with real peoples’ lives. Or if you’d rather use words from Pope Francis’ vocabulary – how to be a Church with its doors wide open, not stuck in the sacristy but on the streets getting its hands dirty.
On the subject of vocabulary, there’s been lots of talk about the use of language that won’t alienate people who are thirsting to hear the word of God. Several participants warned strongly against a language of exclusion, especially when talking about people living in second marriages or in same-sex relationships. While we easily agree on sensitive, inclusive language to talk about victims of violence, the poor, or other marginalized people, we haven’t yet found consensus on a language to describe gay people as part of our own family, our own brothers and sisters.
Violence against women has been another hot topic raised by some synod fathers, one of whom quoted shocking statistics showing how one third of all women in the world are victims of domestic violence. He called for the Synod to stress in the strongest possible terms that Scripture (in particular St Paul’s letters) can never be used to justify male domination or violence against women. He also suggested the Church could show it means business by opening up greater roles for women in the Vatican and in local diocesan positions, or allowing lay men and women to preach the homily at Mass, underlining the unity between God’s word and their lived experiences.
If all of this sounds a bit overwhelming or straying from the strict confines of the Synod’s guiding document, well, one participant had a helpful image of how sometimes, in our cars, our Sat Nav systems come up against a road block and can’t find a way through. That’s when we have to trust technology to open up a path that might be quite different from the road we were expecting to take. Over to the small groups now, to continue the journey.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has warned against having a hard heart that is closed to God’s mercy.
Speaking on Tuesday morning during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta before joining the Synod Fathers gathered in the Vatican Synod Hall, the Pope urged the faithful not to put one’s own convictions or a list of commandments before the Lord's mercy.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni :
Drawing inspiration from the first reading of the Book of Jonah, the Pope pointed out that Jonah is initially resistant to God's will, but eventually learns that he must obey the Lord.
Remarking on the fact that the city of Nineveh converts thanks to Jonah’s preaching, Pope Francis said “it really was a miracle, because in this case he abandons his stubbornness, his rigidity, to obey the will of God, and he did what the Lord commanded him."
And afterwards, the Pope said, after the conversion of Nineveh, Jonah “who was not a man who was docile to the Spirit of God, was angry". The Pope said he even rebuked the Lord.
So, Pope Francis observed, the story of Jonah and Nineveh unfolds in three chapters: the first "is Jonah’s resistance to the mission the Lord entrusts him with"; the second "is his obedience” and the ensuing miracle; in the third chapter, "there is resistance to God’s mercy".
The Pope went on to say that Jesus too was misunderstood because of his mercy.
He recalled that Jesus lived with the Doctors of the Law who did not understand why he did not let the adulteress be stoned, they did not understand why he dined with publicans and sinners, “they did not understand. They did not understand mercy”.
Pope Francis said that the Psalm that we prayed today tells us to "wait for the Lord because with the Lord there is mercy, and redemption."
"Where the Lord is - Francis concluded - there is mercy”. And, he added, as Ambrose said: “Where his ministers are there is rigidity. The rigidity that defies mission, which challenges mercy ":
"As we approach the Year of Mercy, let us pray the Lord to help us understand his heart, to understand what 'mercy' means, what it means when He says: 'I want mercy, not sacrifice!'” he said.
(from Vatican Radio)...