Catholic News Headlines

South Korean bishop hopes North-South summit brings results

Catholic Register Canada - News - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 4:25 PM
SEOUL, South Korea – Bishop Peter Lee Ki-heon of Uijeongbu has been waiting years for this moment, with the leaders of the two divided Koreas poised to meet for a historic summit just inside South Korean territory April 27.

Ucanews.com reported Bishop Lee, president of the Korean bishops' Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, released a statement April 13 expressing his belief that the summit would end decades of struggle and open a new era of peace on the peninsula.

"Now the Korean Peninsula is entering an important time of turbulence," Bishop Lee wrote in the statement titled, "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

"With the inter-Korean summit, as well as the ensuing summit between North Korea and the U.S., expectations are growing that the 65-year-long confrontation and struggle will end and a new era of peace will come," the statement read.

This will be the third major inter-Korean summit, decades after the Korean War ended in a cease-fire.

It comes in the wake of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung meeting former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang in 2000, and former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun following in his predecessor's footsteps by venturing to the North Korean capital in 2007.

But both of those meetings ultimately went nowhere, with the signs of rapprochement crumbling only to be replaced by threats of war amid occasional volleys of gunfire across the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two countries.

Bishop Lee said he expects the upcoming summit will bear more fruit, aided by the prayers of parishioners.

"Our prayers are making an incredible miracle through God, who makes the impossible possible," he said.

The Korean Catholic Church declared its "first of year of peace" in 2015 while commemorating the 70th year since Korea split. That campaign saw Catholics come together to pray for peace every day at 9 p.m.

Bishop Lee asked parishioners to keep faith.

"We still have many obstacles to overcome during the upcoming dialogue. Please keep praying for everlasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our solidarity in prayer will be a solid cornerstone for peace," he said.

He also asked Catholics to check the "hostile" attitude that has crept into Korean society since the end of the Korean War.

"Due to the long 'Cold War' era in Korea, the hostile attitude against others has become deeply rooted in our society, and the church is not free from this scourge," he said.

"The sense of struggle and divisiveness inside South Korean society is a huge obstacle to the future (success) of the Korean people."

The upcoming summit will mark the first time a North Korean leader has set foot inside South Korean territory in decades. Kim Jong Un, North Korean supreme leader, is due to meet incumbent South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area, just south of the DMZ.

While much of the recent thaw in diplomatic relations has been cloaked in secrecy, it indicates a strong de-escalation following months of rhetoric between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, as both threatened each another with missile strikes.

Kim made a secret visit to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in the first week of April, his first trip outside North Korea since taking over the leadership.

Moreover, it recently came to light that Trump sent the head of the CIA on an equally secret meeting with Kim a few days later to pave the way for a summit between Trump and Kim, which is expected to take place sometime in May.

Spiritual guidance belongs in politics, Bishop Tobin says

CNA General News - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 3:55 PM

Providence, R.I., Apr 20, 2018 / 01:55 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking out on political issues is not only a right, but a duty, for religious leaders, said Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence in a recent interview.

“What we try and do is take the Gospel, the basis of our faith, and apply it to the issues of the day,” Bishop Tobin told the Providence Journal in an article published April 17.

“Now, some people will like it, some people won’t like it; some will agree, some will not. I think we have not just a right but the need to be involved in these public conversations.”

Bishop Tobin said that when he speaks about issues such as immigration and gun control, he draws criticism from conservatives, who say, “Stay out of it, it’s not your business.” When speaking about abortion or same-sex marriage, he said, he gets the same response from liberals.

“So sometimes I’m accused of being too conservative, and sometimes I’m accused of being a raging liberal.”

However, he said, it is important to preach the Gospel no matter how people respond.

One tool the bishop has been using to weigh in on political and moral debates is Twitter. In February, the prelate opened an account, @bishoptjt, which now has over 1,300 followers.

Because he alone controls the subject of his tweets, he said “there’s no filter there,” unlike his Facebook account which is managed by someone in his office.

“I thought, if the president can do it and the pope can do it, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be doing it,” he said.

Bishops Tobin uses his Twitter account to discuss both serious topics – such as liturgy and politics – and lighthearted, personal interests.

“I’ve done some devotional things, some spiritual things, and some liturgical things and some prayerful things,” the bishop said. “I’ve also put some things up about the Steelers and about my dog and about some political things and about the weather and April Fools Day.”

 

German church to review employment practices after European court ruling

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 3:44 PM
Germany's Catholic Church said it would review its employment system after top European judges warned it could violate anti-discrimination laws by requiring staffers to be religious.

NCR Podcast: New columns, American culture and baseball

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 3:27 PM
Listen: Columnists Carmen Nanko-Fernández and Mike Jordan Laskey talk about the similarities between baseball and faith.

A Good Shepherd

Zenit News - English - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 3:19 PM
Archbishop Follo: The Shepherd Good and Beautiful: True.

‘With the invitation to follow Christ, good Shepherd who with love guides us to truth and freedom.’

Vatican Hospital is Ready to Care for Alfie Evans

Rome’s Bambino Gesu Pediactric Hospital Would Bear Expenses

Pope’s Homily in Molfetta: We Are to Celebrate That Every Mass We Feed on Bread of Life & Word That Saves

Praising Example of Don Tonino Bello, Reminds That After Meeting the Risen One, We Cannot ‘Postpone’ Being Bearers of Easter Hope

Pakistan: Archbishop Appeals for Prayers

Christians in Quetta Suffer Third Attack in Five Months

Pakistan: First Christian Chapel Is Born in a State University

Christian and Muslim Leaders Say Stop Attacks against Minorities and Yes to Speedy Justice

Communications Must Support Freedom of Expression

‘Dialogue, Respect and Freedom of Expression in the Public Sphere’

Pope Francis’ Homily in Molfetta

‘At every Mass we feed on the Bread of life and the Word that saves: let us live what we celebrate!’

Pope Francis’ Address in Alessano

‘Your Land Produced a Saint’

Pope: Don Tonino Bello Teaches When God Asks of Us a ‘Yes,’ We Cannot Give Him a ‘Maybe’

Says Loved Late Italian Bishop and Servant of God Suggested Not Being Just Faithful Devotees, But True Lovers of the Lord

FEATURE: A Walk With Cardinal Dolan: Part II – Lebanon

Through Video and Images, Archbishop of New York Shares Beirut, Zahlé, and More

To Remember Don Tonino Bello, Pope Visits Southern Italian Towns of Alessano and Molfetta

Italian bishop remembered for helping poor, disadvantaged, and promoting peace

Holy See Insists on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Archbishop Auza Statement to UN Forum

The post A Good Shepherd appeared first on ZENIT - English.

On Columbine anniversary, students act as 'artisans of peace'

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 3:13 PM
Tens of thousands of students across the U.S. have again walked out of their schools in a coordinated effort to demand an end to gun violence.  This protest takes place on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.

German Church to review employment practices after European court ruling

Crux Now - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:26 PM

WARSAW, Poland — Germany’s Catholic Church said it would review its employment system after top European judges warned it could violate anti-discrimination laws by requiring staffers to be religious.

On April 17, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice ruled that demands for Church employees to have a “religious affiliation” should be subject to judicial review.

Jesuit Father Hans Langendorfer, the German bishops’ conference secretary-general, said the Church has “always ensured it does not impose disproportionate demands” on potential workers. He said that, in light of the ruling, the Church would “examine how far its recruitment practices should be adapted.”

In a statement, Langendorfer said Germany’s Catholic bishops welcomed the court’s confirmation that churches were still entitled to consider a job candidate’s “attitude to religion,” and that state courts could not “disregard their religious ethos.”

However, he noted that Catholic conditions for professional involvement in ministry could now be legally challenged.

The Catholic and Protestant churches are among Germany’s largest employers and have been allowed wide-ranging self-administration under religious freedom clauses in the country’s 1949 constitution, or Basic Law.

However, church institutions have faced lawsuits over alleged discrimination against non-Christian staffers, notably at church-owned hospitals and charities.

In May 2015, the Catholic bishops’ conference announced it was reforming the Church’s labor law to reflect “multiple changes in legal practice, legislation and society,” and would permit trade union membership while no longer requiring the Church’s 750,000 employees to reflect Catholic teaching in their lifestyles.

The statement said Church staffers, including non-Catholics, would still be expected to “refrain from anti-Church behavior,” such as by promoting abortion or xenophobia.

However, those who remarried after divorce or contracted civil partnerships would face dismissal only if their actions affected “the Church’s integrity and credibility.”

The director of Germany’s federal anti-discrimination agency, Christine Landers, told the Catholic news agency, KNA, the ruling meant churches would now have to “be able to explain every employment decision comprehensively in court.”

South Korean bishop hopes North-South summit brings results

Crux Now - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:23 PM

SEOUL, South Korea — Bishop Peter Lee Ki-heon of Uijeongbu has been waiting years for this moment, with the leaders of the two divided Koreas poised to meet for a historic summit just inside South Korean territory April 27.

Ucanews.com reported Lee, president of the Korean bishops’ Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, released a statement April 13 expressing his belief that the summit would end decades of struggle and open a new era of peace on the peninsula.

“Now the Korean Peninsula is entering an important time of turbulence,” Lee wrote in the statement titled, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

“With the inter-Korean summit, as well as the ensuing summit between North Korea and the U.S., expectations are growing that the 65-year-long confrontation and struggle will end and a new era of peace will come,” the statement read.

This will be the third major inter-Korean summit, decades after the Korean War ended in a cease-fire.

It comes in the wake of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung meeting former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang in 2000, and former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun following in his predecessor’s footsteps by venturing to the North Korean capital in 2007.

But both of those meetings ultimately went nowhere, with the signs of rapprochement crumbling only to be replaced by threats of war amid occasional volleys of gunfire across the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two countries.

Lee said he expects the upcoming summit will bear more fruit, aided by the prayers of parishioners.

“Our prayers are making an incredible miracle through God, who makes the impossible possible,” the bishop said.

The Korean Catholic Church declared its “first year of peace” in 2015 while commemorating the 70th year since Korea split. That campaign saw Catholics come together to pray for peace every day at 9 p.m.

Lee asked parishioners to keep faith.

“We still have many obstacles to overcome during the upcoming dialogue. Please keep praying for everlasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our solidarity in prayer will be a solid cornerstone for peace,” he said.

The bishop also asked Catholics to check the “hostile” attitude that has crept into Korean society since the end of the Korean War.

“Due to the long ‘Cold War’ era in Korea, the hostile attitude against others has become deeply rooted in our society, and the Church is not free from this scourge,” he said.

“The sense of struggle and divisiveness inside South Korean society is a huge obstacle to the future (success) of the Korean people.”

The upcoming summit will mark the first time a North Korean leader has set foot inside South Korean territory in decades. Kim Jong Un, North Korean supreme leader, is due to meet incumbent South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area, just south of the DMZ.

While much of the recent thaw in diplomatic relations has been cloaked in secrecy, it indicates a strong de-escalation following months of rhetoric between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, as both threatened each other with missile strikes.

Kim made a secret visit to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in the first week of April, his first trip outside North Korea since taking over the leadership.

Moreover, it recently came to light that Trump sent the head of the CIA on an equally secret meeting with Kim a few days later to pave the way for a summit between Trump and Kim, which is expected to take place sometime in May.

Be fruitful and multiply: Threatened trees planted in Vatican Gardens

Crux Now - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:19 PM

ROME — The Vatican Gardens has branched out and added a small orchard to its hillsides, becoming a safe haven for a number of endangered native Italian fruit and nut tree species.

If all goes well with weather and pollination, the eight new saplings planted behind St. Peter’s Basilica should be bearing fruit in just a few years. Hopes are for a harvest including pomegranates that can weigh as much as three pounds each and a natural hybrid fruit called the “susincocco,” which could be translated as a “plumpricot” — a dark red fruit that has the juiciness of a plum with the tastiness and velvety feel of an apricot.

The Italian tree conservation association, “Patriarchi della Natura,” made the donation as part of its national effort to protect biodiversity by collecting and propagating native tree species that are threatened or in danger of extinction in their natural habitats.

Sergio Guidi, the association’s president, greeted Pope Francis at the end of his Wednesday general audience April 18 with a large potted tree decorated with a big yellow bow.

“The Pope’s Orchard” will be a small “field gene bank” or collection of living plant species in need of protection, the association said in a written press release.

The donated fruit and nut trees represent some of Italy’s oldest and most rugged species that are naturally resistant to inclement weather and pests, which means they do not need pesticides or other chemicals, it said.

Rafael Tornini, director of the Vatican Gardens, Sergio Guidi, president of an Italian tree conservation association, and Vincenzo Soldano, who works in the Vatican Gardens, are pictured after the planting of one of eight donated saplings in the Vatican Gardens April 18. The saplings were from tree species that are threatened or endangered with extinction. (Credit: Gabriele Piazzoli/Patriarchi della Natura via CNS.)

The saplings include:

— One “St. John” pear tree and one “St. John” plum — both named because the fruit ripens around June 24, the feast of St. John the Baptist.

— The “sussincocco,” also known as the “black apricot of the pope,” which ripens in July.

— An old apple tree species from the Apennine Mountains and another apple tree sapling “reproduced” from what had been the oldest apple tree in Italy and one of the oldest in Europe; it grew in the Alps of northern Italy before it died. Both bear fruit in September.

— A “San Giovanni Rotondo” almond tree that comes from the town where St. Pio of Pietrelcina lived and died. Tradition says that he prayed and blessed from his window the town’s almond trees whose leaves and flowers had been devoured by caterpillars. Even though the trees had been reduced to looking like sticks, they miraculously produced the most abundant harvest ever that fall, according to legend. It’s the largest almond tree species in Italy, and its trunk can reach 13 feet (four meters) in circumference.

— The “giant Faenza pomegranate” tree that produces fruit at the end of October.

— The “Natalino” fig tree from Basilicata — named because its fruit ripens around Christmas — is a graft from one of the biggest fig trees alive in Italy.

“This model of garden-orchard that allows for conserving very old plant genes should be seen as a role model and replicated in other countries too where biodiversity is at risk of extinction,” the association said in its statement.

According to the conservation network, Global Trees Campaign, more than 10,000 tree species are threatened with extinction around the world.

Commentary: Religious Persecution in the Occupied Territories of Eastern Ukraine

CNA General News - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:07 PM

Lviv, Ukraine, Apr 20, 2018 / 12:07 pm (CNA).- War continues to ravage eastern Ukraine, where conflict erupted in April 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the violent actions of pro-Russian separatists.

Along with forcing at least 1.6 million people from their homes, the ongoing conflict has also resulted in the persecution of Protestant pastors and churches throughout the territories that are occupied by pro-Russian separatist groups. One such group is the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), which is located in Ukraine’s Luhansk region and declared independence in May 2014.

While the international community does not recognize the LNR as a legitimate state, this group’s totalitarian power is growing. During the last four years, the LNR has committed numerous acts of religious persecution against Protestant pastors and churches (as well as other pro-Ukrainian Churches) in the Luhansk region, including abduction, torture, and property confiscation. In fact, on March 27, 2018, the LNR raided the House of Prayer, a church in Stahanov, taking everything and leaving the church completely empty.

The following is a brief summary and analysis to create awareness about the LNR’s new religion law and appeal to the international community to create pressure on the LNR and support our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are losing their freedom to worship and living in constant fear as they suffer for their faith.

For the last four years, Mission Eurasia has drawn the attention of the international community to the systematic religious freedom violations committed by the LNR in eastern Ukraine. And now these violations are considered a central part of the LNR’s legal framework.

According to a new law passed on Feb. 2, 2018 (#211-II “About Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations”), the LNR is permitted to discriminate against any and all non-Orthodox religious communities. This law violates universal human rights, severely limits religious freedom, and threatens eastern Ukraine’s existing network of religious communities and organizations.

While the law itself is a new development, the LNR has been violating religious freedom rights in Ukraine’s Luhansk region since the spring of 2014. Rather than protecting the rights of pre- existing religious communities, the LNR follows Russia’s religion laws. Therefore, in line with Russia’s strict religious freedom legislation, all religious communities and organizations in Luhansk, other than those associated with the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (the Russian Orthodox Church has preferential status), must now prove their loyalty and re-register with the LNR.

The following points laid out in the LNR’s new religion law are particularly concerning for churches in Luhansk:

• All religious communities and organizations must re-register with the LNR within six months of the law’s inception in order to continue operating;

• The LNR will play an increasingly significant role in regulating religious communities and organizations, and in protecting the societal role of the Russian Orthodox Church;

• All registered religious communities and organizations are required to provide detailed reports on all of their activities on a regular basis;

• Religious communities and organizations must have juridical person status to be considered legitimate;

• Religious communities and organizations must have at least 30 members to register;

• Religious communities and organizations are prohibited from leading activities in private residences, which is particularly dangerous for the many home churches in Luhansk;

• There are many grounds on which the LNR can suspend the activities of religious communities and organizations, such as suspected espionage, extremism, and terrorism;

• Religious communities and organizations are required to coordinate the distribution of all religious materials, even among their own members, with the LNR;

• There are very strict regulations placed on all religious communities and organizations that receive financial support from foreign sources.

The Baptist Union of Ukraine asserts that, even if churches in Luhansk try to re-register with the LNR, they will not be able to meet all of the requirements laid out in the new religion law.

In response, Mission Eurasia and our partner churches in Luhansk urge the global Christian community prayerfully to support our brothers and sisters who are suffering in the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine. We also implore international government leaders and human rights organizations to pressure the LNR to repeal the new law and restore religious freedom so that all religious communities in Luhansk and throughout Ukraine can worship freely.

At present, the pastors of many churches in the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine are refusing to participate in the re-registration process required by the LNR’s new religion law. These courageous leaders need our support as they stand firm in the face of escalating religious persecution.


 

Dr. Mykhailo Cherenkov is executive field director of Mission Eurasia and an associate professor of philosophy at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. This piece was first published at Dr. Cherenkov's blog April 19, 2018. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of Catholic News Agency.

At disgraced Cardinal O'Brien's funeral Mass, Cardinal Nichols urges prayer

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 1:35 PM
During a somber service, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster urged mourners to pray for Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien's soul and for those he offended during his life.

UK Supreme Court rules against family of Alfie Evans two days after father meets Pope Francis

Crux Now - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 1:03 PM

LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Britain’s Supreme Court has approved a hospital plan for the withdrawing of life support for Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old child whose parents have been fighting a legal battle to keep him alive.

Thomas Evans, the boy’s father, met with Pope Francis on Wednesday, and pleaded with the pontiff to do all in his power to help his child.

Alfie has an undiagnosed brain disease, and Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool has argued that any further treatment would be futile, and not in Alfie’s interest.

Evans, 21, and his partner Kate James, 20, have fought an ongoing legal battle to allow them to take Alfie abroad for treatment.

The Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù children’s hospital in Rome has offered to admit the child and treat him, but the British courts have not let Alfie’s parents remove him from Alder Hey.

During the pope’s general audience, which took place immediately after his meeting with Evans, Francis asked for prayers for Alfie, and said it is “our duty to do everything to preserve life.”

“I would like to reiterate and forcefully confirm that the only master of life, from the beginning to its natural conclusion, is God!” Francis said.

Francis also expressed his support for Alfie in an April 4 tweet. He also made an appeal for the child during his April 15 Sunday Angelus.

On Friday, the UK Supreme Court said the Liverpool hospital is “free to do what has been determined to be in Alfie’s best interests.”

The court also refused to allow an appeal of their decision and added “there will be no further stay of the Court of Appeal’s order.”

The family’s lawyers from the Christian Legal Centre said they are planning an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, although the British court said the European court could not change the decision.

“Some people wrongly think that this case is purely about permission for Alder Hey to turn off Alfie’s life support. It is not. There are indeed times where life is, completely artificially, being sustained, and support of some kind must tragically be turned off. This is not Alfie’s situation,” said Andrea Minichiello Williams, Christian Legal Centre’s chief executive, in a statement on April 20.

“He remains undiagnosed. There are other, excellent hospitals ready to continue caring for Alfie and attempting to help. An air ambulance crew was blocked from taking Alfie to one of these hospitals – first by Alder Hey, then by the courts,” she said.

“No one is forcing Alder Hey to keep treating Alfie indefinitely. They are being asked to stand down, pass the medical records on, and allow others to treat him. It is this that Alder Hey has been fighting, tooth and nail,” she continued.

Bishop Francesco Cavina of Carpi, in northern Italy, who helped arrange the meeting between Francis and Alfie’s father, said on Wednesday the British position is “beyond all human logic.”

“Two parents are asking to transfer their child from one hospital to another. I do not understand why this should be prevented: If not in Italy, then in another hospital in England. It is difficult to understand something like this,” the bishop said.

After the Supreme Court decision, Alfie’s parents issued a statement saying: “Our son’s life is not futile. We love him. We value him. There are people willing to treat him and we have the state saying ‘It’s not worth giving him the chance’.”

Archbishop Follo: The Shepherd Good and Beautiful: True.

Zenit News - English - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 12:15 PM

Roman Rite – Fourth Easter Sunday – Year B – April 22, 2018
Acts 4.8-12; Ps 118; 1Jn 3, 1-2; Jn 10: 11-18

Ambrosian Rite
Acts 20.7-12; Ps 30; 1 Tim 4.22-16; Jn 10: 27-30
Fourth Easter Sunday

1) The Good Shepherd[1] gives his life.

The passage from the Gospel of the Fourth Sunday of Easter is taken each year from chapter 10 of the Gospel of John and presents Jesus as the Good Shepherd. This year, year B, the Liturgy makes us read the central part of the chapter (vv-11-18) where it is stated that the Good Shepherd offers his life for his sheep and knows all of them.

Contrary to the mercenary who has only an interested relationship with the sheep, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows, namely loves, his own sheep. The relationship between Jesus and the believers is of a knowledge understood in the biblical sense: a bond of deep love. In fact, in the Bible, “knowledge” implies intimacy and mutual trust and it is the word generally used to indicate the conjugal relationship: “Adam knew Eve his wife, who conceived and gave birth …” (Gn 4, 1); “Behold, you will conceive a son, you will give him birth and call him Jesus” announces the angel to Mary who answers: “How will this be, since I know not man?” (Lk 1: 31-34). Therefore, when Jesus says: “I know my sheep and my sheep know me”, one can sense the depth of his love for us and with which depth he expects to be reciprocated.

This strong bond of loving knowledge between Jesus and us is based on the relationship between Jesus and the Father. This bond is expressed in giving his life for us (Jn 10, 14). This statement seems to be the same as that of John 10, 11, however, it is stronger. If in v. 11 “giving life” means being willing to put one’s own life at risk for the sheep, in v. 14 it literally means depriving oneself of life. This total gift of self is the specific attitude of Jesus, the one that has characterized his whole mission on earth and not only his passion and death.

This attitude of offering, a sign of a love ready to donate its life, emphasizes that we are his: ‘his sheep’ guarded with love and guided to life. On the contrary, mercenaries and opportunists treat men as ‘merchandise’ and not as people.

Today, each of us should ask ourselves these questions: “What ‘sheep’ of the flock am I? Am I the sheep ‘lost and found’ or do I remain ‘lost’? Am I the sheep who lets itself be led to find rest in Him, am I the sheep ‘wounded or sick’ and do I let him wrap or cure me? “If our answer will be positive, we will follow Christ and, when we struggle to walk, He will put us on his shoulders.

 

2) Following Christ the Good Shepherd.

To follow Christ like docile sheep does not mean being naive, foolish and blindly obedient.  It means being humble, trusting and letting oneself be picked up with a loving abandonment in Him who walks with us and for us. Moreover, being humble and trusting towards Jesus does not mean not using intelligence, because humility is the virtue that predisposes the intelligence to faith and the heart to love.

To follow Christ as sheep conscious of being loved and not discarded means letting ourselves be guided by him, our saint and good Shepherd, to the eternal pastures of heaven. He is Shepherd because he is lamb. It is written, in fact: “The lamb will be their shepherd and will lead them to the springs of the waters of life” (Wis 7, 17).

Let us not forget, however, that Jesus wanted the priest to be the “Good Shepherd” in the Church. It is not only, but above all in the parish that the priest continues the mission and the pastoral task of Jesus. Therefore, he must “feed the flock” teaching, giving grace, defending the “sheep” from error and evil, consoling and, above all, loving.

Even if the way of being a priest changes according to the places and times, all priests are called to imitate Christ the Good Shepherd who, unlike the mercenary, does not seek any other interest and does not pursue any other advantage than that of guiding, nurturing, and protecting his sheep.”That they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn 10.10).

 

3) All are shepherds.

By virtue of baptism, every Christian is called to be a “good shepherd” in the environment in which he lives:

– the parents must be “Good Shepherds” to their children, making them grow with their love;

– the children must obey the love of their parents and learn the simple and coherent faith and  to give the life they have received as a gift;

– the spouses must set the relationship of the couple on the example of the Good Shepherd, so that family life may always be at the height of the feelings and ideals desired by the Creator. This is the reason for which the family has been called “domestic church”;

– the teachers in the schools and the workers in the factories or in the offices must always try to be “good shepherd” like Jesus.

– but, above all, the “good shepherds” in society must be the consecrates persons: the religious, the nuns, and those who belong to Secular Institutes.

Therefore, on this Sunday, we must pray for all religious, male and female vocations, so that in the Church the witness of religious life may be ever more numerous, lively, intense and efficacious. The world today has more than ever the need of convinced and totally consecrated witnesses.

I am thinking in particular of the consecrated Virgins who exercise a particular “pastoral ministry” in the Church.

Even if theirs is not an ordained ministry, these consecrated women, living virginally, are not limited merely to witnessing the angelic condition of children of the Kingdom. In addition to chastity, which they are called to observe in perfect continence, the Consecrated Virgins practice commitment to poverty of heart and life for a serious sharing of the human suffering as well as obedience to be given to God. Obedience that is presented in the exhortations and in the precepts of the Church, in councils and pastoral directives, and in meeting the needs of people. The Ritual of the Consecration of the Virgins suggests to them to carry out their service (= ministry) with sobriety of life,  help to the poor and works of penance: “The virgins in the Church are those women who, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, make a vow of chastity to the end in order to love Christ more ardently and to serve the brothers more freely … their task is to do works of penance and mercy, apostolic activity and prayer “(Ritual of the Consecration of the Virgins, 2). Therefore, even if they give primacy to prayer and contemplation, the consecrated virgins serve the pastoral ministry of the Church by making the donation of themselves to the service (ministry) of the Church, a holy sheepfold for redemptive sheep, and dedicating themselves to love for all men and women in the ordinary circumstances of life so that all may be one in Christ, Good Shepherd.

 

Patristic reading

Saint Augustin of Hippo (354 – 430)

Sermon LXXXVIII

 On the words of the gospel, Jn 10,14 “I am the good shepherd,” etc. Against the donatists.

1). We have heard the Lord Jesus setting forth to us the office of a good shepherd. And herein He hath doubtless given us to know, as we may understand it, that there are good shepherds. And yet that the multitude of shepherds might not be understood in a wrong sense; He saith, “I am the good Shepherd.”1 And wherein He is the good Shepherd, He showeth in the words following; “The good Shepherd,” saith He, “layeth down His life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, seeth the wolf coming, and fleeth; because he careth not for the sheep, for he is an hireling.2 Christ then is the good Shepherd. What was Peter? was he not a good shepherd? Did not he too lay down his life for the sheep? What was Paul? what the rest of the Apostles? what the blessed Bishops, Martyrs, who followed close upon their times? What again our holy Cyprian? Were they not all good shepherds, not hirelings, of whom it is said, “Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward”?3 All these then were good shepherds, not simply for that they shed their blood, but that they shed it for the sheep.For not in pride, but in charity they shed it.

2. For even among the heretics, they who for their iniquities and errors have suffered any trouble, vaunt themselves in the name of martyrdom, that with this fair covering disguised4 they may plunder the more easily, for wolves they are. Now if ye would know in what rank they are to be held, hear that good shepherd, the Apostle Paul, that not all who even give up their bodies in suffering to the flames, are to be accounted to have shed their blood for the sheep, but rather against the sheep. “If,” saith he, “I speak with the tongues of men, and angels, but have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. If I should know all mysteries, and have all prophecy, and all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not charity, I am nothing.”5 Now a great thing truly is this faith that removes mountains. They are indeed all great things; but if I have them without charity, saith he, not they, but I am nothing. But up to this point he haft not touched them, who glory in sufferings under the false name of martyrdom. Hear how he toucheth, yea rather pierceth them through anti through. “If I should distribute,” saith he, “all my goods to the poor, and deliver my body to be burned.” Now here they are. But mark what follows; “but have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” Lo, they have come to suffering, come even to the shedding of blood, yea come to the burning of the body; and yet it profiteth them nothing, because charity is lacking. Add charity, they all profit; take charity away, all the rest profit nothing.

3. What a good is this charity, Brethren! What more precious? what yieldeth greater light? or strength? or profit? or security? Many are the gifts of God, which even the wicked have, who shall say, “Lord, we have prophesied in Thy Name, in Thy Name have cast out devils, in Thy Name done many mighty works.”6 And He will not answer, “Ye have not done them.” For in the Presence of so great a Judge, they will not dare to lie or boast of things they have not done. But for that they had not charity, He answereth them all, “I know you not.” Now how can he have so much as the smallest charity, who when even7 convicted, loves not unity? It was then as impressing on good shepherds this unity, that our Lord was unwilling to mention many shepherds. For it is not, as I have said already, that Peter was not a good shepherd, and Paul, the rest of the Apostles, and the holy Bishops who were after them, and blessed Cyprian. All these were good shepherds; and notwithstanding to good shepherds, He commended not good shepherds, but a good Shepherd. “I,” saith He,” am the good Shepherd.”

4. Let us question the Lord with such little understanding as we have, and in most humble discourse hold converse with so great a Master. What sayest Thou, O Lord, Thou good Shepherd? For Thou art the good Shepherd, who art also the good Lamb; at once Pastor and Pasturage, at once Lamb and Lion. What sayest Thou? Let us give ear and aid us, that we may understand. “I,” saith He, “am the good Shepherd.” What is Peter? is he either not a shepherd, or a bad one? Let us see, if he be not a shepherd. “Lovest thou Me?”8 Thou saidst to Him Lord, “Lovest thou Me?” And he answered, “I do love Thee.” And Thou to him, “Feed My sheep.” Thou, Thou, Lord, by Thine Own questioning, by the strong assurance of Thine Own words, madest of the lover a shepherd. He is a shepherd then to whom Thou didst commit Thy sheep to be fed. Thou didst Thyself entrust them, he is a shepherd. Let us now see whether he be not a good one. This we find by the very question, and his answer. Thou didst ask, whether he loved Thee; he answered, “I do love Thee?” Thou sawest his heart, that he answered truth. Is he not then good, who Ioveth so great a Good? Whence that answer drawn front his inmost heart? Wherefore was this Peter, who had Thine eyes in his heart for witnesses, sad because Thou askedst him not once only, but a second and a third time, that by a threefold confession of love, he might efface the threefold sin of denial; wherefore, I say, being sad that he was asked repeatedly by. Him who knew what He was asking, and had given what He heard; wherefore being sad, did he return such an answer, “Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thyself knowest that I love Thee”? What! in making such a confession, such a profession rather, would he lie? In truth then, he made answer of his love to Thee, and from his inmost heart he gave utterance to a lover’s words. Now Thou hast said, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things”9 So then he is both a shepherd, and a good shepherd; nothing it is true to the power and goodness of the Shepherd of shepherds; but nevertheless even he is both a shepherd, and a good one; and all other such are good shepherds.

5. What means it then, that to good shepherds Thou dost set forth One Only Shepherd, but that in One Shepherd Thou teachest unity? and the Lord Himself explains this more clearly by my ministry, putting you, beloved, in remembrance by this Gospel, and saying, “Hear ye what I have set forth; I have said, ‘I am the good Shepherd ;’ because all the rest, all the good shepherds, are My members.” One Head, One Body, One Christ. So then both the Shepherd of shepherds, and the shepherds of the Shepherd, and the sheep with their shepherds under The Shepherd. What is all this, but what the Apostle says? “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.”10 Therefore if Christ be even so, with good reason doth Christ in Himself containing all good shepherds, set forth One, saying, “‘ I am the good Shepherd.’ ‘I am,’ I Alone am, all the rest with Me are one in unity. Whoso feedeth without Me, feedeth against Me. ‘He that gathereth not with Me, scattereth.’”11 Hear then this unity more forcibly set forth; “Other sheep,” saith He, “I have which are not of this fold.”12 For He was speaking to the first fold of the stock of the fleshly Israel. But there were others of the stock of the faith of this Israel, and they were yet without, were among the Gentiles, predestinated, not yet gathered in. These He knew who had predestinated them; He knew, who had come to redeem them with the shedding of His Own Blood. He saw them who did not yet see Him; He knew them who yet believed not on Him. “Other sheep,” saith He, “I have which are not of this fold;” because they are not of the stock of the flesh of Israel. But nevertheless they shall not be outside of this fold, “for them also I must bring, that there may be One Fold, and One Shepherd.”

6. With good reason then to This Shepherd of shepherds, doth His Beloved, His Spouse, His Fair One, but by Him made fair, before by sin deformed, beautiful afterward through pardon and grace, speak in her love and ardour after Him, and say to Him, “Where feedest Thou?”13 And observe how, by what transport this spiritual love is here animated. And far better are they by this transport delighted, who have tasted ought of the sweetness of this love. They hear this properly, who love Christ. For in them, and of them, doth the Church sing this in the Song of Songs; who love Christ, as it seemed without beauty, yet the Only Beautiful One. “For we saw Him,” it is said, “and He had neither beauty nor comeliness.”14 Such He appeared on the Cross, such when crowned with thorns did He exhibit Himself, disfigured, and without comeliness, as if He had lost His power, as if not the Son of God. Such seemed He to the blind. For it is in the person of the Jews that Isaiah said this, “We saw Him, and He had no beauty nor comeliness.” When it was said, “If He be the Son of God, let Him come down from the Cross. He saved others, Himself He cannot save.”15 And smiting Him on the head with a reed, they said, “Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who smote Thee?”16 Because “He had neither beauty nor comeliness.” As such did ye Jews see Him. For” blindness hath happened in part to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles enter in,”17 until the other sheep come. Because then blindness hath happened, therefore did ye see the Comely One without comeliness. “For had ye known Him, ye would never have crucified the Lord of Glory.”18 But ye did it, because ye knew Him not. And yet He who as though without beauty bare with you, all Beauteous as He was, prayed for you; “Father,” saith He, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”19 For if He were without comeliness, how is it that she loveth Him, who saith, “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth”?20 How is it that she loveth Him? how is it that she burneth for Him? how is it that she feareth so much to stray from Him? How is it that she hath so great delight in Him, that her only punishment is to be without Him? What would there be for which He should be loved, if He were not beautiful? But how could she love Him so, if He appeared to her as He did to those blind men persecuting Him, and knowing not what they do? As what then did she love Him? As “comely in form above the sons of men. Comely in form above the sons of men, grace is poured abroad in Thy Lips.”21 So then from these Thy Lips, “Tell me, 0 Thou whom my soul Ioveth. Tell me,” says she, “O Thou whom,” not my flesh, but, “my soul loveth. Tell me where Thou feedest, where Thou liest down in the midday; lest haply I light, as one veiled, upon the flocks of Thy companions.”22

7. It seems obscure, obscure it is; for it is a mystery of the sacred marriage bed. For she says, “The King hath brought me into His chamber.”23 Of such a chamber is this a mystery. But ye who are not as profane kept off from this chamber, hear ye what ye are, and say with her, if with her ye love (and ye do love with her, if ye are in her); say all, and yet let one say, for unity saith; “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul Ioveth. For they had one soul to Godward, and one heart.24 Tell me where Thou feedest, where Thou liest down in the midday?” What does the midday25 signify? “Great heat, and great brightness.” So then, “make known to me who are Thy wise ones,” fervent in spirit, and brilliant in doctrine. “Make known to me Thy Right Hand, and men learned in heart, in wisdom.”26 To them may I cleave in Thy Body, to them be united, with them enjoy Thee. Tell me then, “tell me, where Thou feedest, where Thou liest down in the midday;” lest I fall upon them who say other things of Thee, entertain other sentiments of Thee; believe other things of Thee, preach other things of Thee; and have their own flocks, and are Thy companions; for that they live of Thy table, and handle the sacraments of Thy table. For companions are so called, because they eat together,27 messmates as it were. Such are reproved in the Psalm; “For if Mine enemy had spoken great things against Me, I would surely have hidden Myself from him; and if he that hated Me had spoken great things against Me, I would surely have hidden Myself from him; but thou a man of one mind with Me, My guide, and My familiar, who didst take sweetmeats together with Me, in the house of God we walked with consent.”28 Why then now against the house of the Lord with dissent, but that “they have gone out from us, but they were not of us?29 Therefore, “O Thou whom my soul loveth,” that I may not fall upon such, Thy companions, but companions such as Samson’s were, who kept not faith with their friend, but wished to corrupt his wife.30 Therefore, that I may not fall upon such as these, “that I may not light upon them,” that is, fall upon them, “as one that is veiled,” as one that is concealed, that is, and obscure, not as established upon the mountain. “Tell me” then, “O thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou liest down in the midday;” who are the wise and faithful in whom Thou dost specially rest, lest by chance as in blindness I fall upon the flocks, not Thy flocks, but the flocks of Thy companions. For thou didst not say to Peter, “Feed thy sheep,” but, “Feed My sheep.”31

8. Let then the “good Shepherd,” and, “the Comely in form above the sons of men,” make answer to this beloved one; make answer to her whom He hath made beautiful from among the children of men. Hear ye what He answereth, and understand, beware of that wherewith He alarmeth, love that which He adviseth. What then doth He answer? How free from soft caresses, yea, to her caresses He returneth severity! He is sharp that He may bind her closely, that He may keep her. “If thou know not thyself,” saith He, “0 thou fair one among women:”32 for however fair others may be by the gifts of thy Spouse, they are heresies, fair in outward ornament, not within:33 fair are they without, and outwardly they shine, they disguise themselves by the name of righteousness; “but all the beauty of the King’s daughter is within.”34 “If” then “thou know not thyself;” that thou art one, that thou art throughout all nations, that thou art chaste, that thou oughtest not to corrupt thyself with the disordered converse of evil companions. “If thou know not thyself,” that in uprightness, “he hath espoused thee to Me, to present you a chaste Virgin to Christ;”35 and that in uprightness thou shouldest present thine own self to Me, test by evil converse, “as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds too should be corrupted from my purity.”36 “If,” I say, “thou know not thyself” to be such, “go thy way; go thy way.” For to others I shall say, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”37 To time I shall not say, “Enter in;” but, “Go thy way;” that thou mayest be among those, who “went out from us.” “Go thy way.” That is, “if thou know not thyself,” then, “go thy way.” But if thou know thyself, enter in. But, “if thou know not thyself, go thy way by the footsteps of the flocks, and feed thy kids in the tents of the shepherds. Go thy way by the footsteps,” not “of the Flock,” but, “of the flocks, and feed,” not as Peter, “My sheep,” but, “thy kids; in the tents,” not “of the Shepherd,” but, “of the shepherds;” not of unity, but of dissension; not established there, where there is One flock and One Shepherd. The beloved one was confirmed, edified, made stronger, prepared to die for her Spouse and to live with her Spouse.

9. These words which I have quoted out of the Holy Song of Songs, of a kind of bridal song of the Bridegroom and the Bride (for it spiritual wedding, wherein we must live in great purity, for Christ hath granted to the Church in spirit that which His Mother had in body, to be at once a Mother and a Virgin); these words, I say, the Donatists accommodate to their own perverted sense in a very different meaning. And how I will not conceal from you, and what ye may answer them, I will, by the Lord’s help, as well as I shall be able, briefly recommend. When then we begin to press them with the light of the Church’s unity spread over the whole world, and demand of them to show us any testimony out of the Scriptures, where God hath foretold that the Church should be in Africa, as if all the rest of the nations were lost; they are in the habit of taking this testimony in their mouths, and saying; “Africa is under the midday sun; the Church then” they say, “asking the Lord where He feedeth, where He lieth down; He answereth, ‘Under the midday sun;’” as if the voice of her who put the question, were, “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou liest down;” and the Voice of Him who answereth, were, “Under the midday sun;” that is, in Africa. If then it be the Church which asketh, and the Lord maketh answer where he feedeth, in Africa, because the Church was in Africa; then she who asketh was not in Africa. “Tell me,” she saith, “O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou liest down;” and He maketh answer to some Church out of Africa, “Under the midday sun,” in Africa I lie down, in Africa I feed, as if it were, “I do not feed in thee.” I repeat, if she who asketh is the Church, which no one disputes, which not even themselves gainsay; and they hear something about Africa; then she who asketh is out of Africa; and because it is the Church, the Church is out of Africa.

10. But see, I admit that Africa is under the midday sun; although Egypt is rather under the meridian, under the midday sun than Africa. Now after what fashion This Shepherd is there in Egypt, they who know, will acknowledge; and for them that know not, let them enquire how large a flock lie gathereth there, how great a multitude He hath of holy men and women who utterly despise the world. That flock hath so increased, that it hath expelled superstitions even thence. To pass over how it hath in its increase banished thence the whole superstition of idols, which had been firmly fixed there; I admit what you say, O evil companions; I admit it altogether, I agree that Africa is in the South, and that Africa is signified in that which is said, “Where feedest Thou, where dost Thou lie down under the midday sun?” But do ye too equally observe how that up to this point these are the words of the Bride, and not yet of the Bridegroom. Hitherto it is the Bride that saith, “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou dost lie down in the midday, lest by chance I light, as one veiled.” O thou deaf, and blind one, if in the “midday” thou seest Africa, why in her that is “veiled” l dost thou not see the Bride? “Tell me,” she said, “O Thou whom my soul loveth.” Without doubt she addresses her Spouse, when she says, “whom” [in the masculine38 ]“my soul loveth.” Just as if it were said, “Tell me, O thou whom [in the feminine39 ], “my soul loveth;”we should understand that the Bridegroom spake these words to His Bride; so when you hear, “Tell me, O thou whom” (in the masculine) “my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou liest down;” add to this, to her words belongs also what follows, “In the midday.” I am asking, “where Thou feedest in the midday, lest by chance I light as one veiled upon the flocks of Thy companions.” I consent entirely, I admit what you understand of Africa; it is signified by “the midday” But then as you understand it, the Church of Christ beyond the sea is addressing her Spouse, in fear of falling into the African error, “O Thou whom my soul, loveth, tell me,” teach me. For I hear that in the midday,” that is in Africa, there are two parties, yea rather many schisms.40 “Tell me,” then, “where Thou feedest,” what sheep belong to Thee, what fold Thou biddest me love there, whereunto ought I to unite myself. “Lest by chance I light as one veiled.” For they mock me as if I were concealed, they mock me as destroyed, as though I existed nowhere else. “Lest,” then, “as one veiled,” as if concealed, “I light upon the flocks,” that is, upon the congregarious of the heretics, “thy companions; the Donatists, the Maximinianists, the Rogatists and all the other pests who gather without, and who therefore scatter; “Tell me,” I pray Theei f I must seek my Shepherd there, that I fail not into the gulf of re-baptizing. I exhort you, I beseech you by the sanctity of such nuptials love this Church, be ye in this holy Church, be ye this Church; love the good Shepherd, the spouse so fair, who deceiveth no one, who desireth no one to perish. Pray too for the scattered sheep; that they too may come, that they too may acknowledge Him, that they too may love Him; that there may be One Flock and One Shepherd. Let us turn to the Lord, etc

1 (Jn 10,11
2 (Jn 10,12-13.
3 (Mt 6,2 Mt 6,4.
Dealbati.
5 (1Co 13,1 etc.
6 (Mt 7,22
7 Referring it would seem to the conference held but a little while before this with the Donatist party at Carthage.
8 (Jn 21,15).
9 (Mt 12,35
10 (1Co 12,12
11 (Mt 12,30
12 (Jn 10,16
13 (Ct 1,7 Ct 1
14 (Is 53,2 Sept.
15 (Mc 15,31
16 (Mt 26,68
17 (Rm 11,25
18 (1Co 2,8
19 (Lc 23,34).
20 (Ct 1,7 Ct 1
21 (Ps 14,2.
22 (Ct 1,7 Sept.
23 (Ct 1,4
24 (Ac 4,32
25 It is not possible in English to preserve the same translation for the word meridies, which occurs throughout this passage in the two senses of the noon or midday, and the South).
26 (Ps 89,12 Sept. (xc. English version).
27 Sodales enim dicti sunt, quod simul edant, quasi simul edales.
28 (Ps 54,13 etc., Sept. (lv. 12-14, English version).
29 (1Jn 2,19
30 (Jg 14.
31 (Jn 21,17
32 (Ct 8 Sept.
33 Visceribus.
34 (Ps 45,13
35 (2Co 11,2
36 (2Co 11,3).
37 (Mt 25,21
38 Quem.
39 Quam.
40 Concisiones).
[1] Jesus says: I am the good shepherd. The adjective that in English is translated with good has a much deeper meaning. It is the Greek word kalòs, which literally means beautiful in the sense of a thing of good quality that fully responds to its purpose. The shepherd of whom Jesus is talking about, fully responds to his purpose because he gives his life for the sheep. The term specifically indicates risking one’s life exposing oneself to the danger that threatens other people. The good shepherd is an attentive shepherd, who is especially interested in the life and safety of his flock.

The post Archbishop Follo: The Shepherd Good and Beautiful: True. appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Humanity 2.0: Vatican hosts experts to discuss tenderness

Crux Now - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 12:13 PM

ROME — Close to 100 financiers, philanthropists, artists, tech experts, physicians, politicians and religious leaders spent more than an hour in a Vatican meeting room talking about tenderness.

A project called “Humanity 2.0,” supported by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, designed the daylong event April 20 to kick off a process of connecting people with different resources, but who all are committed to improving the lives of others.

During the meeting, the discussions moved from the concept of tenderness to ways tenderness becomes action and to a multisession discussion about the worrying state of maternal and prenatal medical care and ways to address it.

“Healthier mothers are an investment in the health and well-being of our communities and our world,” Marie-Louise Coleiro, president of Malta, told the gathering. She particularly challenged Humanity 2.0 participants to brainstorm concrete ways to improve holistic care — medical, psychological and spiritual — for pregnant women and new mothers who are migrants or refugees.

“The challenge is to translate our love for humanity into real service to our brothers and sisters,” said Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Vatican office for migrants and refugees. “We cannot claim to have or promote ‘integral human development’ if we leave some people out.”

Jennie Joseph, a midwife and executive director of Commonsense Childbirth in central Florida, spoke about the increasing rate of maternal mortality in the United States — the only developing nation in which the rate of mothers dying during or shortly after delivery has increased over the last 25 years. And, she said, “there are three or four times as many black women dying.”

“In the U.S.,” she said, “our maternal mortality is so outrageous that you cannot believe it’s the world’s richest country.”

Dr. Christine Hemphill, an OB-GYN from Pennsylvania, represented the U.S. Catholic Medical Association at the Vatican meeting, which she described as an effort “to turn our thoughts of caring into action.”

Commenting specifically on the situation Joseph described and its detrimental impact on pregnant women and new mothers, Hemphill said that because of its medical malpractice laws Florida, in effect, forces physicians to practice “defensive medicine” that sharply increases the rate of cesarean sections and “puts women at risk.”

Proper maternal and prenatal care must recognize “there are two patients involved,” the mother and her baby, she said.

Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome, noted how in English and Italian, “humanity” is both a reference to all human beings and the description of a virtue. And “tenderness,” he said, “is not cultural, it’s natural.” In fact, he said, “tenderness is the noble part of our nature.”

For the entrepreneurs and financiers at the Vatican meeting, tenderness also is an important part of doing business ethically and successfully.

Brendan Doherty, co-founder of Forbes Impact, which promotes investments that create both financial gain and positive social change, told participants, “We are beyond the point where we can be barons by day and philanthropists by night.”

Ensuring business and investment practices are both profitable and socially beneficial has “virtuous, but also other motivating factors,” he told Catholic News Service.

The “sword and shield” of a smartphone allows people to capture and share something that happens at a business, research a company’s history and practices and communicate the findings to others and reactions to the company, he said. It creates pressure to do better.

“Every investment has an impact whether we acknowledge it or not,” he said. The challenge is to “transform the economy to create value not only for the shareholders.”

Pope commemorates life of beloved Italian bishop who served poor

Crux Now - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 12:07 PM

ROME — The Church needs courageous men and women like Italian Bishop Antonio Bello of Molfetta, who imitated Jesus’ closeness to the poor and the downtrodden, Pope Francis said.

Visiting the birthplace of the beloved bishop affectionately known as “Don Tonino,” the pope said Bello’s life and ministry “remind us to not theorize closeness to the poor but to be close to them as Jesus did.”

“Don Tonino did not do this because it was convenient or because he was seeking approval, but because he was moved by the Lord’s example. Out of love for him, we find the strength to rid ourselves of the garments that get in the way so that we can dress ourselves in service, to be ‘the Church of the apron, which is the only priestly vestment recorded in the Gospel,'” he said April 20.

Francis arrived in the morning by helicopter in the town of Alessano, located in the southern Italian province of Lecce, where Bello was born and buried.

Landing near the town’s cemetery, the pope carried a bouquet of white lilies and yellow sunflowers and laid them in front of the bishop’s tomb. Surrounded by palm trees and an olive tree adorned with rosaries and multicolored peace flags, Francis spent nearly five minutes praying silently. He also prayed in front of the tomb of the bishop’s parents, who were buried nearby.

Born in 1935, Don Tonino spent his first years of priestly ministry as vice rector of a seminary while collaborating with the Catholic charitable organization, Caritas. After he was named bishop of Molfetta in 1982 by St. John Paul II, Bello not only served the poor of his diocese but also worked to promote peace, often rallying against wars in the Persian Gulf and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

He served as president of Pax Christi Italy, an international peace movement, until his death of stomach cancer in 1993. The Vatican approved the opening of Bello’s sainthood cause in 2007.

After visiting Bello’s tomb, Francis rode in a small white golf cart and greeted thousands of men, women and children gathered nearby.

Standing in front of an image of the bishop, the pope said Bello did not remain “with his hands in his pockets” but worked tirelessly to promote peace “with the conviction that the best way to prevent violence and every kind of war meant taking care of the needy and promoting justice.”

“If war generates poverty, poverty also generates war. Peace, therefore, is built starting from the home, the streets, the shops where communion is handcrafted,” he said.

Despite Don Tonino’s rank of bishop, the pope said, he had a “healthy allergy toward titles and honors” and instead chose to free himself “from the signs of power to make way for the power of signs.”

“Let us imitate Don Tonino, let us allow ourselves to be transported by his youthful Christian zeal, let us listen to his urgent invitation to live the Gospel without concession. It is a strong invitation given to each one of us, individually and as a church,” he said.

After speaking to the people of Alessano, Francis boarded a helicopter to Molfetta, where he celebrated an outdoor Mass in the diocese Bello served for nearly 10 years.

In his homily, Francis recalled the bishop’s devotion to the Eucharist and the word of God.

Christians who are nourished by the Eucharist “also share the Lord’s mentality and, upon leaving Mass, are called to “no longer live for themselves but for others.”

Bello, he said, “dreamed of a Church hungry for Jesus and intolerant of all worldliness, a Church that ‘knows how to perceive the body of Christ in the uncomfortable tabernacles of misery, suffering, loneliness.'”

Mother killed on Southwest flight was firm believer in Catholic schools

Crux Now - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 12:02 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tributes from business leaders and politicians alike described Jennifer Riordan — the 43-year-old passenger who died April 17 from injuries suffered on Southwest Flight 1380 when its engine exploded — as a devoted mother, community leader, mentor and volunteer.

Riordan, a Wells Fargo executive from New Mexico, was a “thoughtful leader who has long been a part of the fabric of our community,” said Tim Keller, the mayor of Albuquerque. Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico, described her as “an incredible woman who put her family and community first.”

But statements about Riordan that were closer to home for the parishioner of Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Church in Albuquerque and mother of two children at Annunciation School were issued by her family, who called her their “bedrock,” and her children’s school, which described Riordan as an “integral member of our school community.”

Riordan, who grew up in Vermont, attended Christ the King Elementary School in Burlington and graduated from Vermont’s Colchester High School in 1992. She married her high school sweetheart, Michael Riordan, in 1996 at Christ the King Church, according to the Burlington Free Press daily newspaper.

Jennifer Riordan is seen in this 2015 file photo. (Credit: Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal via CNS.)

The couple had spent nearly two decades living in Albuquerque. Michael is a former chief operating officer for the city of Albuquerque and Jennifer was a vice president for community relations with Wells Fargo bank.

She was returning from a business trip in New York when the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after its engine exploded in midair and shrapnel hit the plane breaking the window beside her.

Riordan was pronounced dead at a hospital from blunt trauma to her head, neck and torso, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Health announced April 19.

As news of the tragedy spread, the assistant principal at Annunciation School where the two Riordan children attend, sent an email to parents confirming Riordan’s death and simply adding: “At this point, the family needs all the prayers we can offer.”

Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester said: “Our hearts go out to the family of Jennifer Riordan, who lost her life yesterday, April 17, during the tragic plane accident.” The archbishop also said he would “pray for the repose of her soul and for her dear loved ones.”

Annunciation School posted a statement on its Facebook page saying the school was “devastated to lose an integral member of our school community,” noting that Riordan often volunteered at the school and also served on its consultative council.

“She was seen on campus almost daily supporting her beautiful children. She provided encouragement to everyone with whom she came in contact. Her positive motivating spirit will be missed,” the statement added before concluding with the promise that the school community would “keep Jennifer and her family in prayer.”

A statement issued by the Riordan family said: “Jennifer’s vibrancy, passion and love infused our community and reached across our country. Her impact on everything and everyone she touched can never be fully measured.”

It also called her “the bedrock of our family. She and Mike wrote a love story unlike any other. Her beauty and love is evident through her children,” and the statement asked that in her memory people remember to “always be kind, loving, caring and sharing.”

The statement echoes Riordan’s own advice from what she said in 2015 after she was presented the Bill Daniels Award for Ethical Young Leadership by the Samaritan Counseling Ethics in Business Awards.

“As a parent, I’ve said to my kids, ‘Be kind, loving, caring and sharing, and all good things will come to you,’” Riordan told the Albuquerque Journal, about the award. “Integrity embodies the spirit of those four things, as well as high morals. It’s about knowing the difference between right and wrong, and choosing to do what’s right, even when it’s very difficult to do what’s right.”

Not only was Riordan dedicated to her job and school volunteering, but she also volunteered with several local nonprofit groups and boards.

She served on the boards of Junior Achievement of New Mexico and New Mexico First and was appointed by New Mexico’s governor to a board focused on boosting volunteerism in the state.

She was still on the board of directors at The Catholic Foundation, a nonprofit Santa Fe archdiocesan organization that links donors to parishes, schools and organizations in need, and had planned to attend a meeting with the group in late April.

Ed Larranaga, the foundation’s president, said he asked Riordan, who had been his friend for 15 years, if she’d be on the board, but he also wondered if she’d even have time because she did so much.

“She was just thoughtful and probably the most positive person I’ve ever met,” he told Catholic News Service April 19, adding that people who didn’t know her well might have thought she was fake because “no one could be that positive and upbeat.”

Riordan told him over a year ago that Catholic education saved her life, saying she had been “going down a path with other people and friends” and her mom changed that direction by sending her to a Catholic school.

So even though she had a lot going on, she wanted to help Catholic schools through the foundation and by sending her children to Catholic school, he said.

“Jennifer wanted to do things to make a difference, not just at work and in the community, but just in general, she wanted to make things better,” Larranaga said.

And that spirit continues. Earlier that day, he received a phone call from someone in Michigan who didn’t know Riordan but wanted to do something in her honor. The donor, who attended Catholic schools, said he was impressed by what he read about her.

“That’s just the type of person she was,” always making a difference, is Larranaga’s view of the phone call.

He said even though there will likely be a private funeral for Riordan, he is sure there will be a public memorial as well at the convention center because her “impact was that great.”

Vatican Hospital is Ready to Care for Alfie Evans

Zenit News - English - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 11:55 AM

Rome’s Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Pediactric Hospital reiterated April 19, 2018, that it is willing to accept baby Alfie Evans as a patient and bear the expenses for his care, according to Vatican News.

Pope Francis met with Tom Evans, Alfie’s father, in Casa Santa Marta before the Holy Father’s April 18, 2018, general audience. As reported in an exclusive ZENIT interview, the Pope told Alfie’s father “no child’s life should be taken away from him.”

In that interview with Zenit, Evans stressed that Alfie is doing well and showing more signs of life, especially after receiving his sacraments. Pope Francis has made strong appeals to protect the life of Alfie Evans.  At the conclusion of today’s audience, the Pope pleaded for Alfie underscoring “the only master of life is God.” During his Sunday Regina Caeli, Pope Francis similarly appealed, saying: “Let us pray so that every sick person is always respected in his dignity and cared for in a way adapted to his condition, with the harmonious contribution of the family, of doctors and of other health workers, with great respect for life.”

The Pope also tweeted last week, stressing that everything be done to help protect Alfie’s life and to make the parents’ suffering be heard.

Little Alfie has been at the center of a legal battle in the UK to keep him alive. Since December 2016, Alfie has been living with an unidentified degenerative neurological condition and has stayed in the hospital. Despite some signs of improvement, however, the hospital and courts have been saying to take him off life support, against the parents’ wishes.

 

The post Vatican Hospital is Ready to Care for Alfie Evans appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Pope’s Homily in Molfetta: We Are to Celebrate That Every Mass We Feed on Bread of Life & Word That Saves

Zenit News - English - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 11:52 AM

“At every Mass we feed on the Bread of life and the Word that saves: let us live what we celebrate! In this way, like Don Tonino, we will be sources of hope, joy and peace.”

Pope Francis stressed this during his Mass today in Molfetto, during his visit there and to another southern Italian town of Alessano, also in Puglia, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of the popular Italian bishop Don Tonino Bello, remembered for his helping the poor, disadvantaged, and promoting peace. In 2007, the cause for beatification of Don Tonino, late bishop of Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi, was opened.

At around 11 a.m., Pope Francis’ helicopter, which had departed from Alessano, landed in the Piazza Cala Sant’Andrea, next to the Cathedral. The Pope transferred by car to the port of Molfetta, where he greeted the faithful at the docks, arriving at the stage set up for the Eucharistic celebration.  In the port of Molfetta, the Holy Father presided over Mass.

The readings presented two elements central to the Christian life: the Bread and the Word.

Bread, the Pope stressed, is the essential food for living and Jesus in the Gospel offers Himself to us as the Bread of life, as if to tell us: “You can not do without me.”

Asking what does it mean?, the Pope observed that for our life, it is essential to enter into a vital, personal relationship with Him.

The Eucharist: The Most Intimate Concrete Communion of Love

“The Eucharist is this,” Francis highlighted, “not a beautiful rite, but the most intimate, most concrete, most surprising communion that can be imagined with God: a communion of love so real that it takes the form of eating. Christian life starts every time from here, from this table, where God satisfies us with love.”

“Without Him, Bread of life,” Pope Francis said, “every effort in the Church is in vain.” Francis reminded that Don Tonino Bello had said: “Works of charity are not enough, if the charity of works is lacking. If the love from which the works leave is lacking, if the source is lacking, if the starting point that is the Eucharist is lacking, any pastoral commitment is only a stirring of things.”

Jesus in the Gospel, the Jesuit Pontiff stressed, adds: “He who eats me will live for me.” Francis stressed that this involves stopping living for himself, for his own success, to have something or to become someone, but he lives for Jesus and like Jesus, that is for others.

The ‘Trademark’ of a Christian

‘Living for,’ the Pope said, is the mark of those who eat this Bread, “the ‘trademark’ of the Christian. Living for. It could be displayed as a warning outside any church: ‘After Mass we no longer live for ourselves but for others.’”

“It would be good if, in this diocese of Don Tonino Bello,” Francis suggested, “there were this notice on the door of the Churches, to be read by everyone: “After Mass we no longer live for ourselves but for others”. Don Tonino lived like this.: among you was a Bishop-servant, a Pastor who became a people, who in front of the Tabernacle learned to let himself be consumed by the people.”

Pope Francis recalled that Don Tonino Bello dreamed of a Church “hungry for Jesus and intolerant of all worldliness.”

“We can ask ourselves: is this Sacrament realized in me? More concretely: Do I just like being served at the table by the Lord, or do I get up to serve like the Lord? Do I give in life what I receive at Mass? And as a Church we could ask ourselves: after so many Communions, have we become people of communion?”

The Holy Father reminded that the Bread of life, the broken Bread, is also Bread of peace.

Don Tonino claimed that “peace does not come when one takes only his bread and goes to eat it on his own. […] Peace is something more: it is conviviality.” We who share this Bread of unity and peace, the Pope said, are called to love every face, to mend every tear; to be, always and everywhere, builders of peace.

Together with Bread, Francis said there is the Word.

Many, the Pope noted, did not understand that the Word of Jesus is to walk in life, not to sit and talk about what is good and what is not. Don Tonino, precisely at Easter, wished to welcome this new life, finally passing from words to deeds.

Therefore, the Pope said, Don Tonino gave a heartfelt exhortation to those who did not have the courage to change: “The specialists of perplexity. The accounting pedants of the pros and cons. Calculators, who exercise the maximum caution before moving” [6]. Jesus is not answered according to the calculations and conveniences of the moment; He is answered with the “yes” of all our life. He does not seek our reflections, but our conversion. He points at the heart.”

“It is the same Word of God to suggest it. ‘Go, do not stay closed in your reassuring spaces, take a risk!. Risk!”

Christian life, the Pope stressed, must be invested for Jesus and spent for others.

After Meeting Risen One, We Cannot Postpone Being Bearers of Christian Hope

“After having met the Risen One we can not wait, we can not postpone it; we must go, go out, despite all the problems and uncertainties.”

“We are all called, in any situation we find ourselves,” the Pope continued, “to be bearers of Easter hope, “Cyrenians of joy,” as Don Tonino said; servants of the world, but resurrected, not employed. Without ever bothering us, without ever resigning ourselves. It is nice to be “couriers of hope”, simple and joyful distributors of the Paschal alleluia.”

The Word of God frees, raises, and keeps us going, humble and courageous at the same time, the Pope noted, stressing: “It does not make us established protagonists and champions of our own skill, no, but genuine witnesses of Jesus, Who died and rose again, in the world.”

Pope Francis concluded, saying: “Dear brothers and sisters, at every Mass we feed on the Bread of life and the Word that saves: let us live what we celebrate! In this way, like Don Tonino, we will be sources of hope, joy and peace.”

After the Mass, Pope Francis departed in his helicopter from Molfetta and returned to Rome.

***

Related Articles on ZENIT:

https://zenit.org/articles/pope-don-tonino-bello-teaches-when-god-asks-of-us-a-yes-we-cannot-give-him-a-maybe/

Pope Francis’ Homily in Molfetta

The post Pope’s Homily in Molfetta: We Are to Celebrate That Every Mass We Feed on Bread of Life & Word That Saves appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Memoir of Jewish boy taken from home by Pius IX altered in translation

Crux Now - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 11:52 AM

ROME — It’s an incident that has caused controversy for 160 years: A 6-year-old Jewish boy taken from his family by papal police and brought to Rome to be raised Catholic after Church authorities learned his housekeeper had secretly had him baptized.

Now the case has reared its head again, with new evidence that memoirs the boy wrote as an adult were altered to take the edge off his anti-Semitic views and enhance details favorable to the Catholic Church.

The Associated Press has confirmed findings by Brown University historian David Kertzer that Edgardo Mortara’s memoirs were changed in ways big and small when they were translated from the original Spanish into Italian and published to great fanfare by Italy’s Mondadori house in 2005. AP found the Spanish text in a religious order’s archive this week.

The alterations do not significantly change the overall thrust of Mortara’s oft-stated gratitude to Pope Pius IX for having saved his soul by removing him from his Jewish family to raise him Catholic. But they do indicate that the tale — already subjected to over a century of revisions to suit various interests — has been recrafted again.

The changes, Kertzer told AP, “were clearly made with certain narrative purposes, to craft a narrative that was more in line with what the conservatives in the Church would like to present as what had happened in the story.”

That story began when Inquisition police took 6-year-old Edgardo from his home in Bologna on June 24, 1858. The reason? The Mortaras’ 16-year-old Catholic housekeeper had secretly baptized Edgardo when he fell ill as an infant, fearing for his soul if he died.

Mortara survived, and when word reached Church authorities that a baptized Catholic was living in a Jewish home, the Inquisition ordered his sequester under laws requiring Catholics be raised as such.

Pius took Edgardo under his wing, and the Jewish-born boy eventually became a Catholic priest, taking Pius as his priestly name. He died in 1940 in Belgium.

While such sequesters, as they were known, were not unheard of, the kidnapping became an international scandal and contributed to the anti-clerical sentiment sweeping across Europe. In Italy, the cause emboldened the liberalizing Risorgimiento forces who unified the country and brought about the collapse of the papal states through which the pope had controlled a swath of central Italy.

This picture kept in the Archivio Storico San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome and taken on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 shows an undated photo of Father Pio Maria Mortara, third from left, with some of his brothers. (Credit: AP Photo.)

The 2017 publication of the English version of Mortara’s memoir — which includes all the alterations contained in the Italian — has cast a new spotlight on the case, just as Steven Spielberg is developing a film based on Kertzer’s 1997 book The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, and Pius’s case for sainthood is pressing ahead.

In a recent article in The Atlantic magazine, Kertzer outlined several inconsistencies between the Spanish version of Mortara’s memoir and the Italian translation published by leading papal author Vittorio Messori in 2005 and titled, “Me the Jewish Boy Kidnapped by Pius IX: The unpublished memoirs of the protagonist of the ‘Mortara case.'”

Kertzer and Messori have feuded for years about the Mortara affair, evidence of the controversy it still sparks even today, with some in the Church defending Pius’s actions on the grounds that he had no choice but to raise Mortara Catholic under divine law.

The memoir in question, written in Spanish because Mortara was living in Spain at the time, is actually a contemporary, typed-up version of a hand-written one Mortara purportedly penned a century ago. The location of the hand-written text is unknown.

AP this week found the typed-up Spanish version in the historic archives of the religious order Mortara joined, alongside his hand-written journals and shelf upon shelf of dusty tomes of centuries-old Church documents.

Here are the key findings of the AP analysis:

—The 89-page notebook-sized autobiography, “El Nino Mortara y Pio Nono” (The Mortara Child and Pope Pius) isn’t actually Mortara’s original, hand-written text, which Kertzer says was penned in 1888. Rather, it is a typed up, spiral-bound booklet prepared nearly a century later by Father Juan Oleaga, a Spanish member of Mortara’s religious order who also prepared a typed-up booklet of Mortara’s correspondence in 1994.

—In a brief introduction to the autobiography, Oleaga wrote that he faithfully typed Mortara’s text and that it was “fruit of a spirit that possesses the truth.” He said Mortara died ever grateful to Pope Pius IX, who authorized his removal and took him under his wing, and remained close to his family “even though he never got to see them converted to Catholicism.”

—Oleaga appears to have written a long footnote in the first few pages of the text in which he justifies the taking of Mortara from his parents and recounts a tearful reunion between Mortara and the Inquisition official responsible for it. That footnote — written in the same typeface as Orteaga’s introduction and set off from the Spanish text with an asterisk — is seamlessly integrated into Messori’s version as if Mortara himself had written it.

—Mortara’s anti-Semitic comments contained in the original Spanish were removed in Messori’s version, including reference to Mortara having “always professed an inexpressible horror” toward Jews. Mortara’s original writings that the faith of his family was “false, contradictory, absurd, condemned by history and burdened by the ‘ridiculous’ which the majority of men condemn,” was reduced in Messori’s text to Judaism being merely “contradictory and surpassed by history.”

—Messori’s version removes references to the “neurosis” and psychological problems Mortara suffered later in life and omits a reference to his “violent” removal from his parents and how much he missed his mother. It also said he was “miraculously” cured from the illness that prompted his baptism. The Spanish text makes no reference to a miracle.

—Kertzer points out that even Mortara’s original Spanish contains factual errors, including names and dates that were corrected in Messori’s version. Mortara’s account also includes an anecdote that Kertzer says has no basis in documentary evidence: that Pius, after learning of the baptism but before removing the child, had tried to persuade his parents to accept a compromise to send Edgardo to a Catholic boarding school in Bologna so they could visit him “whenever they wanted.” Kertzer says that based on court testimony from the time, there is no evidence of any such negotiation and that when the police arrived to take Edgardo away, it came as a complete shock to the family.

Mortara’s great-great niece, Elena Mortara, said in an interview that the change was evidence of an effort to erase the anti-Jewish indoctrination her ancestor received from the Catholic teachers who raised and educated him.

“It was part of the brainwashing, the successful brainwashing, he had,” she said.

During an interview at her home, Mortara spoke of her family’s pain, which has been recounted from generation to generation, but also pride over the episode’s historical relevance.

“We knew that the family had fought for civil rights that would become civil rights for all citizens,” said Mortara, who wrote about the global significance of the case in a 2015 book.

Elena Mortara, who led a public protest by the family and Italy’s Jewish community when St. John Paul II beatified Pius in 2000, dismissed the value of even the Spanish version of the memoir as a document. She noted that it was written in the impersonal third person and typed up by someone else, and differs greatly in tone from Mortara’s hand-written journals, “where he shows all the conflicts within him, all the psychological conflicts, the drama of his soul.”

She vowed to once again mount a protest if the Vatican goes ahead with canonizing Pius and urged the current pope to consider changing Church law that still says that if an infant at risk of dying is baptized, the sacrament is valid even if it was done against the parents’ will.

Messori, for his part, insisted in a series of emails to AP that he worked from the original Spanish text and that a translator had faithfully translated it. He blamed any changes in the published version on editors at Mondadori, the Italian publishing house.

“I think someone wanted to cut out the things that seemed too harsh for the Jews while it was being worked on at Mondadori,” he said in an email. But he stressed: “The things that are being denounced by critics don’t in any way touch Father Mortara’s message of gratitude to the Church and Pius IX.”

Calls and emails to Mondadori seeking comment were not returned.

The issue has greater significance given that the English translation of the memoirs published by Ignatius Press was based on Messori’s Italian version, and therefore contains all the same alterations.

The editor of Ignatius Press, Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, told AP that he would try to obtain a copy of the archived Spanish text and make the necessary changes. But he also said Ignatius had already tried in good faith to obtain the Spanish text from Mondadori. According to emails provided to AP, Mondadori told Ignatius there was no trace left of the Spanish text and to use its Italian.

“I talked to Vittorio Messori and here is the complete story,” read the Nov. 28, 2016, email from Mondadori’s foreign rights manager to her counterpart at Ignatius. She wrote that Mortara himself had actually made a translation into Italian for the order’s superior general.

“So the text found by Messori is the original one, translated from Spanish into Italian by Father Mortara himself for his brothers: Father Mortara is the guarantee of its authenticity,” the email said.

As the AP found, however, the Spanish text is readily available and there is no record in the archive that Mortara ever wrote an Italian version.

AP videojournalist Rodrique Ngowi contributed from Providence, Rhode Island. Other material from the Associated Press was incorporated into this story.

Be fruitful and multiply: Threatened trees planted in Vatican Gardens

Catholic Register Canada - News - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 11:38 AM
VATICAN – The Vatican Gardens has branched out and added a small orchard to its hillsides, becoming a safe haven for a number of endangered native Italian fruit and nut tree species.


If all goes well with weather and pollination, the eight new saplings planted behind St. Peter's Basilica should be bearing fruit in just a few years. Hopes are for a harvest including pomegranates that can weigh as much as three pounds each and a natural hybrid fruit called the "susincocco," which could be translated as a "plumpricot" -- a dark red fruit that has the juiciness of a plum with the tastiness and velvety feel of an apricot.

The Italian tree conservation association, "Patriarchi della Natura," made the donation as part of its national effort to protect biodiversity by collecting and propagating native tree species that are threatened or in danger of extinction in their natural habitats.

Sergio Guidi, the association's president, greeted Pope Francis at the end of his Wednesday general audience April 18 with a large potted tree decorated with a big yellow bow.

"The Pope's Orchard" will be a small "field gene bank" or collection of living plant species in need of protection, the association said in a written press release.

The donated fruit and nut trees represent some of Italy's oldest and most rugged species that are naturally resistant to inclement weather and pests, which means they do not need pesticides or other chemicals, it said.

Rafael Tornini, director of the Vatican Gardens, Sergio Guidi, president of an Italian tree conservation association, and Vincenzo Soldano, who works in the Vatican Gardens, are pictured after the planting of one of eight donated saplings in the Vatican Gardens April 18. (CNS photo/Courtesy of Gabriele Piazzoli, Patriarchi della Natura) 


The saplings include:

-- One "St. John" pear tree and one "St. John" plum -- both named because the fruit ripens around June 24, the feast of St. John the Baptist.

-- The "sussincocco," also known as the "black apricot of the pope," which ripens in July.

-- An old apple tree species from the Apennine Mountains and another apple tree sapling "reproduced" from what had been the oldest apple tree in Italy and one of the oldest in Europe; it grew in the Alps of northern Italy before it died. Both bear fruit in September.

-- A "San Giovanni Rotondo" almond tree that comes from the town where St. Pio of Pietrelcina lived and died. Tradition says that St. Pio prayed and blessed from his window the town's almond trees whose leaves and flowers had been devoured by caterpillars. Even though the trees had been reduced to looking like sticks, they miraculously produced the most abundant harvest ever that fall, according to legend. It's the largest almond tree species in Italy, and its trunk can reach 13 feet (four meters) in circumference.

-- The "giant Faenza pomegranate" tree that produces fruit at the end of October.

-- The "Natalino" fig tree from Basilicata -- named because its fruit ripens around Christmas -- is a graft from one of the biggest fig trees alive in Italy.

"This model of garden-orchard that allows for conserving very old plant genes should be seen as a role model and replicated in other countries too where biodiversity is at risk of extinction," the association said in its statement.

According to the conservation network, Global Trees Campaign, more than 10,000 tree species are threatened with extinction around the world.

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