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The World Seen From Rome
Updated: 16 min 23 sec ago

Close Love

6 hours 32 min ago
Pope Proclaims God’s Love and Closeness

Feast of Most Holy Trinity Celebrates Renewed Wonder

Angelus Address: On the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

‘A Feast to Contemplate and Praise the Mystery of the God of Jesus Christ, Who Is One in the Communion of Three Persons’

Africa: Pope Notes New Blessed Leonella Sgorbati

‘Let us pray together for Africa, that there may be peace there.’

Pope Francis: Economic Crisis has Ethical Dimension

Address to Conference of Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation

Bartholomew I: ‘A Common Christian Agenda for the Common Good’ (Full Text)

Patriarch’s Address to Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation

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Africa: Pope Notes New Blessed Leonella Sgorbati

10 hours 2 min ago

Pope Francis on May 27, 2028, asked for continued prayers for peace in Africa, noting the proclaiming blessed of Leonella Sgorbati, Consolata Missionary Sister, on May 26, 2018, at Piacenza, Italy.

Sister Sgorbati was “killed out of hatred of the faith in Mogadishu (Somalia), in 2006,” the Holy Father said. “Her life — spent for the Gospel and at the service of the poor –, as well as her martyrdom, represent a pledge of hope for Africa and for the whole world. Let us pray together for Africa, that there may be peace there.”

Sister Sgorbati was murdered on September 17, 2006. Her last words, as she lay dying of gunshot wounds, were: “I forgive, I forgive.” Pope Benedict XVI said at the time that he hoped that the death would be “a seed of hope” for a better future.

Leonella Sgorbati was born in Gazzola, Piacenza, Italy, on Dec. 9, 1940. She joined the Consolata Missionary Sisters in San Fre, Cuneo, in May 1963 and took her perpetual vows in November 1972.

After nursing school in England (1966-1968), she was appointed to Kenya, where she arrived in September 1970. From then until 1983 she served alternately at Consolata Hospital Mathari, Nyeri, and Nazareth Hospital in Kiambu on the northern outskirts of Nairobi.

In mid-1983, Sister Leonella started her advanced studies in nursing and in 1985 became the principal tutor at the school of nursing attached to Nkubu Hospital, Meru.

In November 1993 she was elected regional superior of the Consolata Missionary Sisters in Kenya, a duty she performed for six years.

After a sabbatical, in 2001 she spent several months in Mogadishu, looking at the possibility of setting up a nursing school in the hospital run by the SOS Village organization.

Hermann Gnemer School of Registered Community Nursing opened in 2002, with Sister Leonella in charge. The first 34 nurses graduated from the school this year, awarded certificates and diplomas by the World Health Organization because Somalia has had no government since 1991.

Sister Leonella was keen to train tutors for the nursing school. She returned to Kenya with three of her newly graduated nurses, to register them for further training at a medical training college.

She faced difficulties in obtaining her own re-entry visa to Mogadishu, due to the new rules of the Islamic courts that now control the city and its environs. She managed to return to Mogadishu on Sept. 13.

 

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Pope Proclaims God’s Love and Closeness

10 hours 29 min ago

“Today’s biblical Readings make us understand that God doesn’t want so much to reveal to us that He exists, but, rather, that He is the ‘God with us,’ who loves us, is interested in our personal story and takes care of each one of us, beginning with the littlest and the neediest,” Pope Francis said on May 27, 2018.

His remarks came before praying the noonday Angelus with the crowd of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He reminded listeners that God isn’t just “up there in Heaven” but also “down here on earth”.

He cited the example of St. Paul, who experienced the transformation of God’s love and understood God’s desire to be a father to him.  Paul experienced God as a “daddy” rather than a distant father:

“Saint Paul (Cf. Romans 8:14-17), who experienced personally this transformation wrought by the God-Love, communicates to us His desire to be called Father, rather “Daddy,” with the total trust of a child that abandons himself in the arms of one who gave him life,” Francis explained. “The Holy Spirit — the Apostle recalls again — acts in us so that Jesus Christ isn’t reduced to a personage of the past, but that we feel Him close, our contemporary, and we experience the joy of being beloved children of God.

“Finally, in the Gospel, the risen Lord promises to remain with us forever: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20). And, in fact, thanks to this His presence and to the strength of His Spirit, we can carry out serenely the mission that He entrusts to us: to proclaim and witness His Gospel to all and thus deepen communion with Him and the joy stemming from it.”

The Holy Father concluded by exhorting those present to “contemplate the mystery of a God that creates incessantly, redeems and sanctifies, always with love and for love, and to every creature that receives Him He gives the gift to reflect a ray of His beauty, goodness, and truth…the task of every baptized person is the same as that entrusted by Jesus to His disciples: and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).”

The Holy Father Full Address

 

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Angelus Address: On the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

10 hours 52 min ago

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave on May 27, 2018, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* *  *

Before the Angelus

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. A feast to contemplate and praise the mystery of the God of Jesus Christ, who is One in the communion of three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. To celebrate ever with renewed wonder the God-Love, who offers His life freely to us and asks that we spread it in the world. Today’s biblical Readings make us understand that God doesn’t want so much to reveal to us that He exists, but, rather, that He is the “God with us,” who loves us, is interested in our personal story and takes care of each one of us, beginning with the littlest and the neediest. He “is God up there in Heaven” but also “down here on earth” (Cf. Deuteronomy 4:39). Therefore, we don’t believe in a distant, indifferent entity, but, on the contrary, in the Love that created the universe and generated a people, was made flesh, died and rose for us, and as Holy Spirit transforms everything and leads to fullness.

Saint Paul (Cf. Romans 8:14-17), who experienced personally this transformation wrought by the God-Love, communicates to us His desire to be called Father, rather “Daddy,” with the total trust of a child that abandons himself in the arms of one who gave him life. The Holy Spirit — the Apostle recalls again — acts in us so that Jesus Christ isn’t reduced to a personage of the past, but that we feel Him close, our contemporary, and we experience the joy of being beloved children of God. Finally, in the Gospel the risen Lord promises to remain with us forever: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20). And, in fact, thanks to this His presence and to the strength of His Spirit, we can carry out serenely the mission that He entrusts to us: to proclaim and witness His Gospel to all and thus deepen communion with Him and the joy stemming from it.

Therefore, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity makes us contemplate the mystery of a God that creates incessantly, redeems and sanctifies, always with love and for love, and to every creature that receives Him, He gives the gift to reflect a ray of His beauty, goodness, and truth. He has always chosen to walk with humanity and forms a people that are a blessing for all the nations and for every person, none excluded. Therefore, the task of every baptized person is the same as that entrusted by Jesus to His disciples: ”Go [. . . ] and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

A task that, thinking of the meaning of the verb “baptize,” that is, “immerse,” we can translate with the invitation to “immerse” every human being in this ocean that is the love of God; a love that raises from sin, heals the wounds of the soul and gives us salvation.

May the Virgin Mary, who from today we invoke — taking up again the Angelus prayer –, help us to fulfil joyfully the mission to witness to the world, thirsty for love, that the meaning of life is precisely the infinite and concrete love of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

  

After the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Piacenza was Leonella Sgorbati, Consolata Missionary Sister, killed out of hatred of the faith in Mogadishu (Somalia), in 2006. Her life — spent for the Gospel and at the service of the poor –, as well as her martyrdom, represent a pledge of hope for Africa and for the whole world. Let us pray together for Africa, that there may be peace there.

[Hail Mary . . .]

Our Lady of Africa, pray for us.

I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims: the families, the parish groups, and the Associations. In particular, I greet the faithful of Porto Sant’Elpidio, Naples, Bruzzano of Milan, Padua, and the choir of Sappada and that of the youngsters of Vezza d’Alba. You all sang well yesterday at Saint Peter’s, congratulations! I greet the Polish pilgrims and bless the participants in the great pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine of Piekari Slaskie.

On the occasion of the “Day of Relief,” I greet all those gathered at the “Gemelli” Polyclinic, to promote solidarity with people affected by serious illnesses. I exhort all to recognize the needs, also spiritual, of sick persons and to be close to them with tenderness.

I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me.

Have a good lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

 © Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Bartholomew I: ‘A Common Christian Agenda for the Common Good’ (Full Text)

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 4:00 PM

“Society is being transformed into a gigantic market, social achievements are shrinking and the gap between rich and poor is widening,” warned the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, on May 26, 2018. “The right of the economically powerful and the pursuit of the greatest possible profit are considered to be the only way to achieving economic growth.”

The Patriarch’s comments came in an address at the conference “New Policies and Life-Styles in the Digital Age”, held May 24-26, 2018 in Vatican City.  The event is sponsored by the Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice Foundation on the 25th anniversary of its institution.

“It appears that the human race, with its expanded and insatiable needs, is inclined to eradicate humanity’s spiritual heritage,” he continued. “Even children are being systematically converted through the educational system into consumerists.”

The Patriarch’s Full Address:

Your Eminence Cardinal Parolin,

Your Eminences, Excellencies, Reverend Fathers, and

Distinguished audience,

We would like to express our wholehearted gratitude and appreciation to the President of the “Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation” for extending to us a kind invitation on the occasion of your conference “New Policies and Life-Styles In The Digital Age”. It is truly a pleasure to address this distinguished audience gathered here today. Please also accept our warm wishes for the twenty-fifth anniversary of your venerable institution’s foundation (June 13, 1993).

The opportunity to meet in person with other fellow Christians brings us great joy. We are servants of the Lord, who saved us from the bonds of death and opened the gates of Paradise for the human race. We all strive to preserve the sacred inheritance of Christianity, to give “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) the good witness of “common salvation” (Jude 3), that “there is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

We commend your impressive display of determination to promote the Catholic Church’s social doctrine, as was expressed in the Lenten encyclical “Centesimus Annus”, of the late Pope John Paul II; for, what is, indeed, truly Christian is essentially social. Faith is not limited only to the “soul”, without any interest for the social dimension, but rather, it also plays a pivotal role at the level of society. Our Churches preserve high spiritual values and rich philanthropic traditions. The Church of Rome has a systematic social teaching, which contains solutions to difficult issues in the spirit of the principles of the respect of the person, solidarity, subsidiarity and the common good. On the grounds of these principles, various models were developed and continue to be developed, in order to face social challenges and protect human dignity.

Today, we are facing a serious crisis and its social outcomes on a global scale. We regard this worldwide crisis as a “crisis of solidarity”, an ongoing process of “desolidarization”, which puts the very future of humanity at risk. It is our deep conviction, that the future of humanity is related to the resistance against this crisis and the establishment of a culture of solidarity.

So, how, then, does this crisis of solidarity come to be? And, what are its parameters and the areas of society within which it appears? To answer these questions, we now refer to three fields where this occurs:

  1. The field of economy and ecology

In recent years, we have experienced an immense economic crisis that is connected to the process of globalization and its ensuing implications, the surrender of culture to economy, the increase of poverty, famine and scarcity, and the tragedy of mass migration. We evaluate the so-called “fundamentalism of the market”, the deification of profit, the association of dignity with property, the reduction of the human being to homo oeconomicus and the subordination of the human person to the tyranny of needs, as extremely serious contemporary threats to a culture of solidarity. Society is being transformed into a gigantic market, social achievements are shrinking and the gap between rich and poor is widening. The right of the economically powerful and the pursuit of the greatest possible profit are considered to be the only way to achieving economic growth. It appears that the human race, with its expanded and insatiable needs, is inclined to eradicate humanity’s spiritual heritage. Even children are being systematically converted through the educational system into consumerists. As was rightly said, childhood itself has basically become an “economic category”. In the end, we are convinced that the exclusive orientation of economic activity towards the maximization of profit does not function either for sustainable economic development or for the common good. It essentially breaks up humanity into privileged and underprivileged, and it becomes an expression of a lack of solidarity, which is, naturally, not able to form a steady foundation for the future.

Next, the ecological problem is an issue that is closely related to economic development, which is something that is constantly growing. Extreme economism causes both serious economic and ecological problems. An economy that is autonomized from a human being’s real needs unavoidably leads to the exploitation of nature and the destruction of the natural environment. We singlehandedly destroy the conditions of humanity’s survival and coexistence in the name of short-term profit and benefit. It is self-evident that the consequences of the ecological problem, which first and foremost affect those individuals who are socially and economically weak, constitute a serious threat to social cohesion and increase de-solidarization.

  1. The field of science and technology

The rapid progression of science and technology, together with its beneficial consequences, also leads to outcomes that do not promote a culture of solidarity. Technology is no longer man’s servant, but instead is his primary driving force, which requires complete obedience, as well as imposes its own principles on all aspects of life. The almighty electronic means of communication do not simply disperse information, but also broadcast values—their own values—they reshape our views regarding the meaning of life, they direct our needs, thereby creating artificial needs, and they lead the way to a future that is dominated by them. The charm of technological achievements leads to the identification of progress with technological progress. We worship technology and its highest symbol—the computer—as our god, while simultaneously expecting to receive all our benefits, joy, communication, progress, information, jobs, etc, from it. The homo faber becomes homo fabricatus. In fact, we face a plethora of problems that are not of technological nature and can’t be solved through the accumulation of more information. Social injustice, divorces, violence, crimes, loneliness, fanaticism and the clash of civilizations are not caused by a lack of information and technology. We see that some of these issues are actually growing hand in hand with the technological progress of society.

Never before have we possessed so much scientific knowledge and acted so violently and destructively against nature and our fellow human beings. We even continue to produce terrible weapons of mass destruction and risk the possibility of a nuclear world war. In the West, the explosion of knowledge and information fostered disinterest towards other people, as well as a spirit of individualism and deification of property; whereas, in other regions of the world, technology easily coexists with social injustice and religious fundamentalism. The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church that convened in Crete in June 2016, stated that “scientific knowledge does not motivate man’s moral will” (Encyclical, par. 11). Similarly, your Church, in the Final Document produced by the Pre-Synodal Meeting that took place in Rome last March, entitled “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”, expressed the following remarkable view:

While technology has, for some, augmented our relationships, for many others it has taken the form of an addiction, becoming a replacement for human relationship and even God … Paradoxically in some countries technology and particularly internet is accessible while the most basic needs and services are still lacking.

Another fact is that scientific and technological progress do not provide answers to the deepest existential problems of the human being, nor do they eliminate them. Hence, science, the “great power”, is not almighty after all! The dominance of machines, the deterioration of human relations and the chaos of information do not benefit solidarity and the interest for common good. Rather, they individualize the human person and imprison him to a virtual reality. The autonomization of science and technology from man’s vital needs, his various dependencies, which he creates in conjunction with economism, scientism and extreme experiments with human nature, constitute a great danger to a society of solidarity.

  1. The field of society and politics

One of the more dangerous contemporary tendencies for a culture of solidarity is individualism, self-idolization, and self-entrapment to egotistic self-sufficiency, which creates chasms between people. The dominating words of today are “me”, “myself”, “mine”, “autonomy”, “self-realization” and “self-admiration”. Individualism is accompanied by eudemonism, whose aim in life is the satisfaction of as many needs as possible, as well as the creation and securing of new needs. As has been clearly stated, the “ζῶον λόγον ἔχον” today has become “ζῶον ἔχον”, homo habens, who is fed by the possession of material goods, as well as by the possession of his own individuality—a bearer and expresser of not only the “foolish rich man’s” greed and avarice (Luke 12:17-21), but also of the “Pharisee’s” auto-soteric vanity (Luke 18:10-14). It is only natural, then, that this possessive relationship with all people and all things, as well as with our own self, does not leave any space for love and solidarity, for sharing and communion.

Today, human rights, which form the core of contemporary political culture, are yet another topic that is connected to the problem of solidarity. The West has always given emphasis to individual rights, and that has unfortunately led to their identification with individualism. On the other hand, non-western civilizations—invoking the West’s understanding of human rights—reject individual rights and base upon this their entire negative stance against the culture of modernity.

Certainly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its seventieth anniversary this year, characterized itself “as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”. This way, human rights are considered to be a universal humanistic criterion, which is able to function as the “yarn of Ariadne” inside the labyrinth of contemporary pluralism. Today, though, this function of human rights is disputed by the postmodern understanding of pluralism in the sense of the unfolding devaluation and reevaluation of traditional values, the waning or non-existent consensus in terms of common standards, the complete rejection of any general criterion, the fetishism of indifference, extreme subjectivism and the dominance of “parallel monologues”.

When confronted with these contemporary givens and tendencies, what should the required stance for us Christians be? Two things are certain. First, that we cannot ignore this immense crisis of solidarity, because economic and social problems affect human beings at the very core of their existence and dignity. And, second, that nobody can face these problems alone. We need each other; we need a common agenda, common mobilization, common efforts and common goals. It is our deep conviction that in this effort, the contribution of our Churches remains crucial. They have preserved high values, precious spiritual and moral heritage, and deep anthropological knowledge.

Over the last decades, we have witnessed a reevaluation of the role of religion for human existence. It is not by chance that, in our present day, the talk about the coming “post-religious age” has been replaced by the discourse of a “post-secular period”, in which religions claim and play a public role and join all the remarkable efforts of humankind. As Pope Emeritus Benedict writes, “complete secularity (Profanität), which was developed in the West, is something deeply foreign for the civilizations of the world. They are convinced that a world without God does not have any future (J. Ratzinger, Werte in Zeiten des Umbruchs, Herder, Freiburg/Basel/Wien 2005, pg. 88). For His Eminence Walter Cardinal Kasper, it is a commonly accepted truth that “every society needs institutions of transcendence”, which publicly represent the “dimension of the Divine”. The modern attempt to found society on atheistic or religiously indifferent principles has failed (Zukunft aus dem Glauben, Grünewald, Mainz 1978, 90). It is certain, though, that the repulsion of Transcendence extinguishes the creative powers of man, paralyzes hope and feeds cynicism.

On the contrary, our faith strengthens our commitment to human action, and it widens our witness for freedom, justice, and peace. We are all called to common responsibility for the common good. We must work towards solutions for the challenges that we jointly face. Our anthropology, our image of the human being and the purpose of his and her life, define our attitude toward humanity and social action. If we see the human being as homme machine, we can easily transform the human person into an object. If we regard the human being as a person (prosopon) created “in the image” of God, then our attitude changes. Evidently, a general orientation to the idea of “human being” is insufficient, because we can presuppose that this human being is only interested in the fulfillment of its insatiable needs. Man must be approached in his relation to God and in respect to his eternal destiny.

A human being is not only a citizen of the world but also a citizen of heaven (οὐρανοπολίτης)—a creature longing for eternal life. The Orthodox Tradition regards the human being as “ζῶον θεούμενον”, a living being to be deified, which provides human beings with the utmost dignity, underscoring true humanization and the plerome of its God-given freedom in the Body of Christ, the Church, which is called by the Fathers “κοινωνία θεώσεως”, that is, communion of deification. “God became man so that we might become God” (Athanasios the Great).

“There is nothing as sacred as a human being, whose nature God Himself has shared” (Nicolas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ). Indifference for man is indifference towards God and His Commandments. God is present, wherever love, fraternity, and solidarity exist. The famous biblical parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) describes the spontaneous compassion and support for the suffering person, despite the fact that this person was a foreigner, or even an “enemy”. Another impressive truth in this parable is expressed in the answer of Jesus to the initial question: “Who is my neighbor?” For Jesus, the truth of love is to become a “neighbor” for everybody who needs support.

His Holiness Pope Francis eloquently refers to the truth of limitless love towards our neighbor in his conversation with Andrea Tornielli on the occasion of the “Year of Divine Mercy” (March 13, 2015 – November 20, 2016), stating that:

We have received without having done anything to deserve it, and as a consequence, we offer without asking for something in return. We are called to serve Christ—who died on the Cross—in the face of every marginalized person. We recognize the Lord in every human being who is abandoned, hungry and thirsty, who is naked and in prison, sick or unemployed, in persecution or in flight. That is where we meet our God, where we directly touch the Lord. Christ Himself told us this when He announced to us on which grounds we are to be judged: “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40). (Der Name Gottes ist Barmherzigkeit, Kösel, München 2016, 125)

At this point, the words of Gregory the Theologian come to our mind: “While there is time, let us visit Christ, let us heal Christ, let us nourish Christ, let us clothe Christ, let us welcome Christ, let us honor Christ” (On Love of the Poor, pg. 35, 909).

In this spirit, we regard the present multifaceted crisis as an opportunity for practicing solidarity, for dialogue and common action, for communication and cooperation, for openness and confidence, and for continuing the long and impressive Christian tradition of philanthropy and solidarity. Today, our Churches are called to function as a positive challenge to individuals and peoples, offering an alternative model of life within the contemporary culture that bestowed humanity with precious gifts, but at the same time seems to push people to live for themselves, ignoring the others with whom they are sharing the same world.

Our Churches resist injustice and all anti-personal powers that undermine social cohesion by putting forth the social content of the Christian Gospel. They exercise critique on the declaration of the rise of economic indicators to the absolute criterion of economic activity and the subordination of the human being to the tyranny of needs and consumerism. In this spirit, the Ecumenical Patriarchate declared the year 2013 as a “year of universal solidarity”. In our Patriarchal Encyclical, we articulated the conviction that the ongoing worldwide economic and social crisis expresses a lack of solidarity. Solidarity with the human being and solidarity with creation are the presuppositions not only of peaceful coexistence but even the sheer survival of humanity. Our aim was to sensitize individuals and peoples to poverty and the great inequalities that exist in the world. We underlined the necessity for initiatives to relieve those who are needy and to ensure the right that every human being enjoys the essential goods of life.

The chief model of economic development dangerously escalates environmental problems and functions against the true interests of man. Since no viable economic development can exist at the cost of the natural environment, the organizational model of the economy within the framework of globalization ought to be replaced by ecological economy—an economy that has at its center the real interests of man, which are served only within an intact environment.

We consider the approach of the ecological crisis in connection with social problems to be especially important. It is Pope Francis’ and our common belief that the current economic developments within the framework of globalization destroy social cohesion, solidarity and the overall function of interpersonal relations. It is precisely this spirit that the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si’ (2015) and our Common Message with Pope Francis “On the World Day of Prayer for Creation” (September 1, 2017) express. From the very beginning, we have supported the idea that serving our fellow human beings, preserving nature, environmental justice and social justice, are inextricably interconnected. It is quite characteristic that the Roman Catholic Church started by addressing social matters and continues its way to the Laudato Si’ Encyclical in 2015, which has the ecological issue at its core; while the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which in 1989, began concerning itself with the care for the natural environment, today finds itself also engaged in a struggle for a culture of solidarity, for the protection of the sacredness of childhood, for the support of refugees, as well as in initiatives against modern slavery. Therefore, it was natural and beneficial for us to meet in our journey.

It is impossible for our Churches to maintain a stance of indifference when confronted with scientism, which converts the human being into a measurable object. Churches stress that the human person encapsulates dimensions that are unattainable to science. Our Churches, therefore, express their concern against this autonomization of science and technology from the vital needs of the human being, against the dependencies that are created and the dangers that follow.

We worry for our endangered freedom, for our precious traditions that are being lost and for the natural environment that is being destroyed. We are concerned about the fact that, as Pope Emeritus Benedict somedays before his election stated, “the moral power of the human being has not increased in parallel with the progress of science, but rather it has been reduced … this disparity between technical capacities and our moral faculty is the greatest threat at this moment in history” (Vortrag in Subiaco, Kloster der Hl. Scholastica, 1. April 2005).

We are also aware that whatever is scientifically and technologically feasible, does not necessarily mean that it is also essential and good. It is self-evident that the criticism against the deification of technology does not necessarily mean the devaluation of the beneficial works of scientific and technological progress. Science and technology have a human dimension and contribute to the solution of humanity’s problems today. Nevertheless, nothing amplifies the arrogance of contemporary man as much as faith in almighty science and technology. The future, though, does not seem to belong to the self-ordained “man-god” (ἀνθρωποθεός), who as a new “Prometheus” ignores or even abolishes limits and measures, as well as destroys the conditions of life on the earth. We remind the admirers of scientism and “technopoly” that real progress does not exist when the human person and his freedom are being undermined.

From our Churches’ point of view, the future does not belong to the individual who concerns himself with his own self, but to the overcoming of this self-centeredness. Freedom is the exit from our own self. As has been properly stated, “the door to freedom only opens towards the outside”. The Church, as “a communion of relations”, as the foremost space of “the culture of personhood”, constitutes a great challenge for the contemporary individual-centric civilization, and for the auto-soteric narcissism of contemporary man and woman. Her ascetical ethos is offered as an alternative proposal of life to the homo habens, who identifies his own eudemonia with “having” and the multiplication of his own satisfied needs. It is imperative and crucial to promote and develop, in action, the social workforce of our Christian faith—the loving relation with our fellow human beings.

Our common Christian agenda also encompasses dialogue with human rights. We are obliged to separate the humanistic essence and impetus of human rights from the individualistic understanding of the right. The generally negative stances of some Churches against human rights are not based predominately on theological criteria but on historical circumstances and mutual prejudices. In the dialogue of human rights, our Churches have the ability to promote their humanitarian and philanthropic views, as well as to point out that the claim of rights does not constitute the highest ethos, which for them is the free renouncement from our own individual rights in the name of the ἀγάπη that “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church emphasized that “the Orthodox ideal in respect of man transcends the horizon of established human rights and that ‘greatest of all is love’” (par. 10). Indeed, the history of freedom does not begin with the history of modern human rights.

Dear distinguished Participants,

In the title of our address, “A Common Christian Agenda for the Common Good”, we come across the word “common” twice. The Church is, in fact, the place of the “common”: “common” salvation, “common” freedom, “common” good, “common” ethos and “common” obedience. Life in the Church is a foretaste and an expectation of the “common resurrection” and the “common kingdom”. We are not a sum of individuals, but a community of persons—a community of love. In the Church, the “καινόν”, the “new”, is the “κοινόν”, the “common”. The Church of Christ is “the miracle of the new” in the life of the world, a sign of the final renewal of all things: “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). It is not a coincidence that Apostle Paul characterizes the community of faithful as a community of hopeful while referring to the people outside of it as those “who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

The entire mystery of Divine Economy is experienced liturgically in the Divine Eucharist. The Church celebrates the Eucharistic Liturgy “bringing together (1 Corinthians 11:20) the scattered children of God (John 11:52) without regard to race, sex, age, social, or any other condition into a single body where there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female (Galatians 3:28; cf. Colossians 3:11) in a world of reconciliation, peace and love”, which depicts the eschatological Kingdom of God (Text of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World). It is rightly held that the Divine Eucharist is the core of ecclesiastical life. The rest of the sacraments, worship and spiritual life, canonical structure and the philanthropic witness of the Church in the world, are nourished by the Eucharist, and they express the eucharistic identity of the Church.

In the communion of the Church, mind, and heart, faith and knowledge, freedom and love, the individual and society, the human being and the entirety of creation are all reconciled. It is for this very reason that the Church resists the powers of division, individualism and totalitarianism, oppression and exploitation, economism and consumerism, scientism and the deification of technology, as well as the destruction of the natural environment and anthropomorphism. The response to the divisions and the impasses of human freedom is the Incarnate Logos of God.

Today and always, the image we have for ourselves, for our place in the world and for our destination, determines our stance in life. The Christian tradition does not have solutions and answers ready for every single problem that exists.  Rather, our faith is an inexhaustible source of crucial truths for human beings and the world, for our relation to God, to ourselves, to others and to creation, for our freedom, for the meaning of life and the final destination of all. The Church offers help and truth, it orients the human being towards eternity and does not allow for him to be reduced to a sheer living being, nor to become an Übermensch. For Pope Francis and us, the identity and value of a culture or a society cannot be judged by the level of its economic growth, its technological development or its organization. In fact, while these are important elements, they are not the essence of a civilization. A civilization is judged by whether or not its final point of reference is the human person, in relation to his true divine destiny and the protection of his world.

We reject the cynical phrase “There is no alternative”. In other words, we reject the claim that non-conformity to the commandments of globalization and to the “autonomy of the economy”, leads to the expansion of poverty and to uncontrollable societal developments and conflicts. It is unacceptable for the alternative forms of development and the strength of social solidarity and justice to be ignored and slandered. Our Churches can create new possibilities of transformation for our world. In fact, the Church itself is an event of transformation, of sharing, of love and of openness. It is utopic to believe that solidarity and social cohesion can be achieved through globalization and the raising of living standards, or through the internet and communication.

In our Churches, we experience the blessed certainty that the future does not belong to “having” but to “being”, not to “pleonexia” but to “sharing”, not to individualism and selfishness but to communion and to solidarity—nor does it belong to division but to love. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). We continue our common journey, our theological dialogue, our common struggle and our common Christian witness of love—the preeminent transformative power—as the Lord instructed us. Love and diakonia are the essence of the freedom (ἐλευθερία) in which “Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).

We thank all of you for your kind attention!

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Pope Francis: Economic Crisis has Ethical Dimension

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 3:00 PM

“The current difficulties and crises within the global economic system have an undeniable ethical dimension,” Pope Francis said on May 26, 2018. “They are related to a mentality of egoism and exclusion that has effectively created a culture of waste blind to the human dignity of the most vulnerable.”

His comments came in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Apostolic Palace during an address to in members of the Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice Foundation on the 25th anniversary of its institution. Those present participated in the May 24-26, 2018 conference sponsored by the foundation: “New Policies and Life-Styles in the Digital Age”.

The Holy Father used the analogy of the false conflict between faith and science, noting there is a misconception that successful economics and morality are in conflict.

“All too often, a tragic and false dichotomy – analogous to the artificial rift between science and faith – has developed between the ethical teachings of our religious traditions and the practical concerns of today’s business community,” Francis explained. “But there is a natural circularity between profit and social responsibility.”

 

The Holy Father’s Address:

 

Dear Friends,

I greet all of you gathered for the 2018 International Conference of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation.  In a particular way, in this, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Foundation’s establishment by Saint John Paul II, I express my gratitude for your work in making known the wisdom of the Church’s social teaching with those involved in the business and economic sectors of civil society.  After a quarter-century, this task remains more necessary than ever, as the social and financial challenges faced by the international community have become increasingly complex and interrelated.

The current difficulties and crises within the global economic system have an undeniable ethical dimension: they are related to a mentality of egoism and exclusion that has effectively created a culture of waste blind to the human dignity of the most vulnerable.  We see this in the growing “globalization of indifference” before obvious moral challenges confronting our human family.  I think especially of the manifold obstacles to the integral human development of so many of our brothers and sisters, not only in materially poorer countries but increasingly amid the opulence of the developed world.  I think too of the urgent ethical issues associated with global movements of migration.

Your Foundation has a vital role to play in bringing the light of the Gospel message to these pressing humanitarian concerns, and in assisting the Church to carry out this essential aspect of her mission.  By continuing to engage with business and finance leaders, as well as union officials and others in the public sector, you seek to ensure that the intrinsic social dimension of all economic activity is adequately safeguarded and effectively promoted.

All too often, a tragic and false dichotomy – analogous to the artificial rift between science and faith – has developed between the ethical teachings of our religious traditions and the practical concerns of today’s business community.  But there is a natural circularity between profit and social responsibility.  There is, in fact, an “indissoluble connection […] between an ethics respectful of persons and the common good, and the actual functionality of every economic financial system” (Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones, 17 may 2018, 23).  In a word, the ethical dimension of social and economic interaction cannot be imported into social life and activity from without but must arise from within.  This is, of course, a long-term goal requiring the commitment of all persons and institutions within society.

Your Conference has chosen for its title this year “New Policies and Life-Styles in the Digital Age”.  One of the challenges linked to this theme is the threat families are facing from uncertain job opportunities and the impact of the digital cultural revolution.  As the preparation process for this year’s Synod on Young People has made clear, this is a vital area in which the solidarity of the Church is actively needed.  Your own contribution is a privileged expression of the Church’s concern for the future of young people and families.  Indeed this is an activity where ecumenical cooperation is of special importance and the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at your Conference is an eloquent sign of this common responsibility.

Dear friends, by sharing your own knowledge and expertise, and by making known the richness of the Church’s social doctrine, you seek to form the consciences of leaders in the political, social and economic sectors.  I encourage you to persevere in these efforts which contribute to the building of a global culture of economic justice, equality and inclusion.  With gratitude and appreciation for what you have already accomplished, I prayerfully entrust your future commitment to the providence of Almighty God.  Upon you, your colleagues and your families I willingly invoke an abundance of the Lord’s blessings.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Pope Francis Visits the Elisa Scala Comprehensive Institute of Rome

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 1:09 PM

In the framework of “his Fridays of Mercy” visits, Pope Francis on May 25, 2018, visited the Elisa Scala Comprehensive Institute of Rome, a State school in the South-West periphery of the capital, between the Borgata Finocchio and the Borghesiana. He was accompanied as usual by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

The Elisa Scala Comprehensive Institute was born in the 1950s; following the demographic increase in the area. Beginning in the 1970s the Institute was enlarged with four additional buildings, located in the Borghesiana and Finocchio area, between Via di Rocca Cencia, Via di Motta Camastra and Via Roccaforte del Greco.

The Holy Father visited the main headquarters of the Institute on via Nicotera. The School’s Directress, Professor Claudia Gentili, and hundreds of boys and girls, who were at the Institute engaged in their afternoon activities, welcomed the Pontiff.

Professor Gentili was able to recount to Pope Francis the history of the Institute that, since October of 2015 is now linked to the Scala family, whose daughter, little Elisa, who was in the 6th grade in the then Comprehensive Institute of Via Rocca Camastra, died tragically from aggressive leukaemia at the age of 11. Elisa was a very lively and determined child, who often spoke to her father and her mother of her passion for books and libraries. When she died, it was a natural desire of her parents to propose a project to the School to realize her dream: a room for books that could be frequented by all the youngsters. A few months later, in December 2015, the “Elisa’s Library” was born, an area to “fill with books.”

It was followed subsequently by the launching of the initiative “Give a Book for Elisa,” by her father, Georgio, and her mother, Maria, addressed to anyone who wished to contribute with a small donation of books to “Elisa’s Library.” Thousands of texts were collected, in different languages, and all with a dedication to Elisa. Today there are over 20,000 books, shipped from all regions of Italy, of Europe and even of Australia, so much so as to enter in the circuit of the municipal libraries of Rome. Only a few months ago, the Institute was given permission by the Municipality of Rome and the Ministry of Public Education to name the school after little Elisa.

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Silent Love

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 12:55 PM
Pope’s Morning Homily: Marriage ‘Silently Preaches’ That ‘Love Is Possible’

During Morning Mass, Francis Praises Couples Who Stay Together, Laments Christian Marriage Is Not ‘News’

Pope Francis Receives Invitation to Visit Bulgaria

Nation’s Prime Minister Visits Pope and Encourages Trip

Ecumenical Event Unites Chapel Royal and Sistine Chapel Choirs

Concert at Buckingham Palace Raises Money for Aid to the Church in Need

SOON TO BE CARDINAL: Papal Almoner Created Cardinal “for the Poor”

Monsignor Krajewski’s Reaction

Pope Francis Visits the Elisa Scala Comprehensive Institute of Rome

‘Fridays of Mercy’ Program Reflects Holy Father’s Outreach to People

Archbishop Follo: Trinity: God is love

With the Wish to Understand that the Trinity is the Life of Communion and this Communion is our Vocation

Pope Stresses Church Support for Families

To Management and Staff of Rome Police Headquarters and Central Health Department

Syria: ‘Jesus is My Rock’ Rocks

Foundation Stones for 97 Homes in Homs

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Ecumenical Event Unites Chapel Royal and Sistine Chapel Choirs

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:55 AM

BUCKINGHAM Palace was the setting for a historic concert – in support of persecuted Christians from all denominations – that brought together the renowned choirs of the Chapel Royal and the Sistine Chapel.

The Ecumenical Concert of the Choirs of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, and the Sistine Chapel took place on May 24, 2018,  in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Gloucester.

The audience in the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace heard music of historical importance to the Sistine Chapel and the Chapels Royal, including pieces by Purcell, Weelkes, Palestrina, Parry, Byrd and Britten.

The two choirs performed earlier that day at Evensong, held at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, and led by Canon Paul Wright, Sub-Dean, HM Chapels Royal.

Both events highlighted the work of Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity which supports persecuted and suffering Christians over the world – especially in the Middle East.

Christian persecution was also the theme of HRH The Prince of Wales’s Easter video message this year, in which he said: “At this time, we think especially of those Christians who are suffering for their faith in so many parts of the world.

“I want to assure them that they are not forgotten and that they are in our prayers.”

In his speech at last night’s concert, Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director, Aid to the Church in Need (UK), expressed his thanks for ACN being the focus of the event.

He added: “This concert is a great sign of support, not just for Christians in the Middle East, but for all communities who are trying to rebuild and who want to deepen bonds of trust and understanding.”

Aid to the Church in Need’s priority Iraq project is support for 120,000 Christians and others from Nineveh and Mosul.

Having provided emergency help after they fled Daesh (ISIS), the charity is now – with the militants’ defeated – enabling the communities to go back by rebuilding homes, churches, dispensaries and other centers.

In Syria, ACN is providing emergency and pastoral help to families in areas worst affected by violence including Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and elsewhere – food, shelter, and medicine – as well as pastoral aid.

 

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Pope’s Morning Homily: Marriage ‘Silently Preaches’ That ‘Love Is Possible’

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:55 AM

Marriage ‘silently preaches’ that ‘love is possible.’

According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as he offered Mass in the presence of seven couples celebrating their 50th and 25th wedding anniversaries, and reflected on today’s Gospel reading according to Mark (Mk 10: 1-12), where Jesus affirms the beauty of marriage.

“From the beginning of Creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one,” says Jesus. The Holy Father observed that the Lord “leaves the problem of separation and goes to the beauty of the couple.”

“We must not stop  . . . at ‘one can,’ or ‘one cannot’ separate a marriage. (. . . ) Sometimes, by misfortune, it doesn’t work and it’s better to separate to avoid a world war, but it’s a misfortune,” stressed the Pontiff.

“Let us look at the positive,” he invited, telling an anecdote of a couple that was celebrating 60 years of marriage and, to his question: “Are you happy?” They answered with emotion: “We are in love!”

“It’s true that there are difficulties,” the Pope acknowledged, “there are problems with children or with the couple themselves, arguments and fights… but the important thing is that the flesh remains one, and you can overcome, you can overcome, you can overcome.”

“And this,” he said, “is not only a sacrament for them, but also for the Church, a sacrament, as it were, that attracts attention: “See, love is possible!” And love is capable of allowing you to live your whole life “in love”: in joy and in sorrow, with the problems of children, and their own problems… but always going forward. In sickness and in health, but always going forward. This is beautiful.”

Marriage “is not only a Sacrament for them, but for the Church, as if it were a Sacrament that attracts attention: “However, see that love is possible!” continued the Pope. “Marriage is a silent preaching to all others, a preaching of every day.”

Francis lamented that this is not considered news to the newspapers or to the TV news programs.

“This couple, together for so many years… it’s not news. Scandal, divorce, separation – these are considered newsworthy. (Although at times its necessary to separate, as I said, to avoid a greater evil). The image of God isn’t news. But this is the beauty of marriage. They [the couple] are the image and likeness of God. And this is our news, the Christian news.”

Patience is “perhaps, the most important virtue in a couple  — both in the man as well as the woman,” he affirmed, before ending with a prayer that God may “give the Church and society a more profound, more beautiful awareness of marriage.”

Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May we all be able to understand and contemplate that the image and likeness of God is in marriage.”

 

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Pope Francis Receives Invitation to Visit Bulgaria

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:41 AM

The Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borissov, met Pope Francis in the Vatican this morning, May 25, 2018, and invited the Holy Father to visit the nation.

According to the press pool which gave details of the encounter to journalists in the Holy See Press Office, the Prime Minister made the invitation. According to Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency), Bulgaria’s largest English-language news provider, the Holy Father seemed receptive to visit Bulgaria, Romania and another Balkan country.

In his Facebook profile after his audience with the Pope, the prime minister also confirmed the invitation. During the encounter, there was the usual exchange of gifts.  At the end of the audience, the prime minister presented the Bulgarian delegation. Afterward, the Macedonian delegation went to see the Pope.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov of Bulgaria and Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zaevw visited Rome for the May 24th celebrations. For the first time, the site reported, both countries’ representatives together honored the memory and work of the Saints Cyril and Methodius.

 

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Archbishop Follo: Trinity: God is love

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:40 AM

SS. Trinity – Year B –May 27, 2018

Roman Rite
Dt 4, 32-34.39-40; Ps 33; Rom 8: 14-17; Mt 28: 16-20

Ambrosian Rite
Ex 33.18-23; 34.5-7a; Ps 63; Rom 8.1-9b; Jn 15.24-27

1) God is love.

Today we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity, which dwells is in our heart.

The dogma of the Trinity is not the result of mythological fantasies or the result of abstract philosophical meditations. Neither is it a cold theological formulation which offers the pretext of saying that the Trinity is a mystery so detached from our life that more than one Christian feels that it is safe to ignore it. The Trinity is a great Mystery, which overcomes our mind, but that speaks deeply to our heart because in its essence it is nothing other than the explication of the expression of St. John: “God is love” (1 Jn 4, 8. 16 ).

It is the heart that supports the mind to believe that God

–  is the Creator and the merciful Father,

– is the Only Son, eternal Wisdom incarnate, dead and risen for us,

–  is the Holy Spirit that moves everything, cosmos, and history, towards the full final recapitulation. Three Persons who are one God because the Father is love, the Son is love and the Spirit is love. God is all and only love, pure, infinite and eternal love.

By revealing the mystery of God-Love, Jesus, the Son of God, made us know the Father who is in Heaven and has given us the Holy Spirit, the Love of the Father and of the Son. Therefore, “the Trinity is a communion of divine Persons who are one with the other, one for the other, one in the other. This communion is the life of God, the mystery of love of the Living God” (Pope Francis).

In addition to the teaching of the Pope, I am also helped by an image taken from Saint Catherine di Siena. This great holy woman uses a simple and illuminating image: that of the fish that lives and moves in the waters of the boundless sea. The fish lives in water and of water, and the water enters in it. This little creature does not know how big, powerful and beneficial the element in which he lives is; however, in the sea the fish lives, plays, grows and multiplies.

Similarly, the same thing happens to man before the Mystery of God the Trinity. The human being is too small to understand it, however, by grace, the life of God flows in him, by grace God bends over him and speaks to him with the tenderness of the Father, the confidence of the Brother, and the strength of Love. While remaining mysterious, the reality of love of the One and Triune God envelops the person who lives in it and lives of it. Therefore, the liturgy of this solemnity, while making us contemplate the stupendous mystery from which we come and towards which we are going, renews for us the mission of living in communion with God and of living in communion among us on the model of the divine communion.

This entails accepting and witnessing together the beauty of the Gospel and living with one another, one for the other, one of the heart of the other. In this way, we will reflect the splendor and love of the Trinity and we will be missionaries of charity with the power of God’s love that dwells within us.

2) The Church as a missionary pilgrim of love.

Indeed, the Christian is missionary by nature. The Gospel of this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity also reminds us of this. In the third reading (the Gospel) the Church makes us listen to the passage that tells of the risen Jesus who appears on a mountain to his disciples and says: “Go therefore and make disciples all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything what I have commanded you “(Mt 28, 19-20).

Let us take seriously the invitation that Christ renews us today, accepting and taking the Gospel of love into the world.

In fact, the Christians are not so many proclaimers of a discourse as they are of the One who has words of eternal life in Love.

The God/ Love revealed by Jesus is not a philosophical-theological principle to be believed. He is not the most perfect God who from his cold isolation commands precepts to be observed. He is not even the “god” of a religiosity put at our service to get out of our failures, our incapacities or our fears. God is a mystery of relationship, of communion: an infinite relationship of love, of true love, of love that gives itself totally. We have been created by this love and out of love, “we were created in the image of divine communion” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 178). We are called to be missionaries of this communion of love. This mystery of love is concrete and close to us more than we think, and we live it in practice when, especially in the most important or critical moments in which we most need God, we make the sign of the cross. Marking ourselves with this holy sign, almost without being fully aware of it, we invoke God One and Triune saying: “In the name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit”. Not only do we invoke God the Trinity to help us, but we praise him with the prayer “Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit … Amen” that Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Missionary of Charity in name and in fact, often said in this way: “Glory to the Father-Prayer, and to the Son-Poverty, and to the Holy Spirit-Zeal for souls. Amen-Maria. ”

 3) The Trinity and the Consecrated Virgins.

Saint Teresa of Avila describes the understanding and the existential value of this Mystery speaking of her spiritual journey that has developed in the direction of “loving tenderness”: Christ has led her to the Father and has entrusted her to the Holy Spirit, and Teresa has “experienced” the mystery of the three divine Persons: a paternal person who attracts, embraces, comforts and solicits; a spiritual person who warms her and captivates her inwardly while the filial person of Christ continues to invite and prepare Teresa for the mystical marriage that was celebrated in the Carmel of Avila, during the Mass of November 18, 1572.

The life of the consecrated Virgins in the world continues in its own way the experience of this great Spanish Saint. With a complete gift of themselves in the hands of the Bishop, these women testify in a special way the Trinitarian dimension of Christian life.

In fact, virginity is in some ways the deification of man: “One cannot make better praise of virginity except by showing that it deifies, so to speak, those who participate in its pure mysteries, to the point of making them in communion with the glory of God, the only truly holy and immaculate, admitting them in his own familiarity through purity and incorruptibility “(Saint Gregory of Nyssa, De Virginitate, 1, 1-2, 256 s.).

Therefore, virginity originates from the Trinity and lives in the Trinity, linked as it is to the generation of the Son by the Father and brought as a gift to men by the Word, who comes into the world in the same way as it is generated by the Father, virginally, by a Virgin. This is how in the Christian person virginity produces effects similar to those that occurred “in Mary, the Immaculate when all the fullness of the divinity that was in Christ shone in her (…). Jesus no longer comes with his physical presence, but lives spiritually in us and, with him, brings us the Father “(Ibid, 2).

It is clear that this ideal of life characterized by spiritual virginity is proposed to all Christians, even to the married one, as a requirement of perfection. But Saint Gregory and the other Fathers of the Church clearly see that whoever chooses virginity, abstaining from marriage and imitating Jesus and Mary, rediscovers the original integrity in which man was created or, as the holy bishop of Nyssa says, the condition of “the first man in his first life” (Ibid, 12, 4. 4; 416 s).

 

Patristic reading

Saint Agustin of Hyppo (354 – 430)

De Trinitate

Conclusion of Chap. 28

O Lord our God, we believe in Thee, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. For the Truth would not say, Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, unless Thou wast a Trinity. Nor wouldest thou, O Lord God, bid us to be baptized in the name of Him who is not the Lord God. Nor would the divine voice have said, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one God, unless Thou wert so a Trinity as to be one Lord God. And if Thou, O God, weft Thyself the Father, and weft Thyself the Son, Thy Word Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit your gift, we should not read in the book of truth, “God sent His Son;” nor wouldest Thou, O Only-begotten, say of the Holy Spirit, “Whom the Father will send in my name;” and, “Whom I will send to you from the Father.” Directing my purpose by this rule of faith, so far as I have been able, so far as Thou hast made me to be able, I have sought Thee, and have desired to see with my understanding what I believed; and I have argued and labored much. O Lord my God, my one hope, hearken to me, lest through weariness I be unwilling to seek Thee, “but that I may always ardently seek Thy face.” Do Thou give strength to seek,, who hast made me find Thee, and hast given the hope of finding Thee more and more. My strength and my infirmity are in Thy sight: preserve the one, and heal the other. My knowledge and my ignorance are in Thy sight; where Thou hast opened to me, receive me as I enter; where Thou hast closed, open to me as I knock. May I remember Thee, understand Thee, love Thee. Increase these things in me, until Thou renewest me wholly. I know it is written, “In the multitude of speech, thou shalt not escape sin.” But O that I might speak only in preaching Thy word, and in praising Thee! Not only should I so flee from sin, but I should earn good desert, however much I so spake. For a man blessed of Thee would not enjoin a sin upon his own true son in the faith, to whom he wrote, “Preach the word: be instant in season. out of season.” Are we to say that he has not spoken much, who was not silent about Thy word, O Lord, not only in season, but out/of season? But therefore it was not much, because it was only what was necessary. Set me free, O God, from that multitude of speech which I suffer inwardly in my soul, wretched as it is in Thy sight, and flying for refuge to Thy mercy; for I am not silent in thoughts, even when silent in words. And if, indeed, I thought of nothing save what pleased Thee, certainly I would not ask Thee to set me free from such multitude of speech. But many are my thoughts, such as Thou knowest, “thoughts of man, since they are vain.” Grant to me not to consent to them; and if ever they delight me, nevertheless to condemn them, and not to dwell in them, as though I slumbered. Nor let them so prevail in me, as that anything in my acts should proceed from them; but at least let my opinions, let my conscience, be safe from them, under Thy protection. When the wise man spake of Thee in his book, which is now called by the special name of Ecclesiasticus, We speak,” he said, “much, and yet come short; and in sum of words, He is all.” When, therefore, we shall have come to Thee, these very many things that we speak, and yet come short, will cease; and Thou, as One, wilt remain “all in all.” And we shall say one thing without end, in praising Thee in One, ourselves also made one in Thee. O Lord the one God, God the Trinity, whatever I have said in these books that is of Thine, may they acknowledge who are Thine; if anything of my own, may it be pardoned both by Thee and by those who are Thine. Amen).

 

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Pope Stresses Church Support for Families

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 9:29 AM

Pope Francis on May 25, 2018, stressed the importance of families and affirmed the support of the Church for the “first community”.

His remarks came during a talk to the management and staff of the Rome Police Headquarters and Central Health Department, who gathered in Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. The group included the families of those who died in service to the community.

“The family is the first community where one teaches and learns to love,” the Holy Father said. “And it is the privileged environment in which one teaches and one also learns the faith, one learns to do good…The good health of the family is decisive for the future of the world and of the Church, considering the many challenges and difficulties that today arise in everyday life. In fact, when we encounter a bitter reality, when we feel the pain, when the experience of evil or violence breaks in, it is in the family, in its communion of life and love that everything can be understood and overcome.”

The Pope admitted that the family – like all human institutions – experiences suffering. He cited the examples of Cain and Abel, the quarrels between various family figures in the Old Testament, the failings of David, and the suffering of Job. Even the Holy Family experienced threats and had to flee to Egypt.

“Following the example of Jesus, the Church, in its daily journey, knows the anxieties and tensions of families, generational conflicts, domestic violence, economic difficulties, the precariousness of work,” Francis said. “Reflecting each day in the Gospel, the Church is led by the Holy Spirit to stay close to families, as a travel companion, especially for those who are experiencing some crisis or experiencing some pain, and also to indicate the final goal, where death and pain will disappear forever.”

Francis concluded by stressing the importance of the family not only in passing on religious faith but civil values:

“Faith is handed down as a family too. Here we learn to pray: humble prayer, simple and at the same time open to hope, accompanied by joy, the real one, which comes from a harmony between people, from the beauty of being together and supporting each other on the journey of life, while aware of all our limits…A good family also transmits civil values, educates to feel part of the social body, to behave like loyal and honest citizens. A nation cannot stand if families do not fulfill this task.”

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Syria: ‘Jesus is My Rock’ Rocks

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 8:57 AM

In recent days, the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral Um al Zehnar of Homs has been the site of a special ceremony, Aid to the Church in Need reported on May 24, 2018.  The owners of the 97 Christian homes in Homs that ACN helped to rebuild, have received a gift of a first brick stone with the words “Jesus is my rock.”

Homs is the third largest city in Syria after Damascus and Aleppo, and during the first years of conflict has long been the scene of clashes between rebels and loyalist forces. Many Christians have fled the city for security reasons or because their homes were destroyed. The owners of the 97 buildings that fell belong to different Christian denominations.

“Thanks for all you do for us,” said Aziz al Houri and his wife. “Our children are so excited to finally go home.”

“We lived terrible years,” said Christian Nizar Al Bitar, “but thanks to your support we have not lost hope. Christians remain in Syria!”

The 97 homes will be ready before the end of summer. Expectant mother Genan Abdalaha looks forward to her baby being born in her own home: “I cannot believe that we can finally return to our neighborhood!”

Meanwhile, the Papal Foundation, which has supported the reconstruction of more than 110 homes in Homs, donated 300,000 Euros for this project. “Unfortunately, the war in Syria is far from over,” said Director of ACS-Italy, Alessandro Monteduro. “But thanks to interventions like this we can help our Syrian brothers to return, albeit partially, to normality.”

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SOON TO BE CARDINAL: Papal Almoner Created Cardinal “for the Poor”

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 8:00 AM

Papal Almoner Monsignor Konrad Krajewski will be “created” Cardinal on June 29, 2018, together with 12 other Bishops and a priest. A choice of Pope Francis destined to the “poor,” he assures.

In an interview with Vatican News, immediately after the announcement, the Polish Prelate said that the Pontiff’s nomination was for the poor and the volunteers, I have no merit.” It’s “an unexpected choice, never sought,” by Monsignor Krajewski who learnt it, as everyone else, at midday during the Regina Coeli on May 20.

“This nomination isn’t for me, it’s for the Almoner. I only do what the Holy Father wants to do. There is nothing personal; it comes from the office I hold, which is to be his charitable arm,” he stressed. This Cardinalate is “for all the volunteers, it goes to all those who go out in the evening . . . I believe that this recognition is also for them.”

A gesture that recalls the “first Cardinals who were deacons, hence those that serve the poor,” added the Almoner who said he was “overwhelmed.”

Konrad Krajewski was born at Lodz in Poland on November 25, 1963. He was ordained a priest on June 11, 1988 and was first Parish Vicar in his diocese. In 1990 he was sent to Rome to study at the Saint Anselm Liturgical Institute and the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas. During those years, he collaborated with the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations and was Almoner at the Orthopaedic and Traumatology Clinic of La Sapienza University.

On his return to his diocese in 1995, he became Master of Ceremonies of the Archdiocese and taught Liturgy in several Seminaries and at the Warsaw Academy. He returned to Rome in 1998 to work in the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations.

On May 12, 1999, he was appointed Papal Master of Ceremonies. Then on August 3, 2013, a few months after his election, Pope Francis appointed him Papal Almoner and Archbishop. The Grand Almoner forms part of the ecclesiastical personnel of the Papal Family. He is present at ceremonies and audiences next to the Prefect of the Papal Household. He is also in charge of Apostolic Blessings, which he authenticates with his signature and he receives applications for aid and subsidies, which he examines before their attribution.

After his appointment, Monsignor Krajewski multiplied the initiatives in favour of the homeless in Rome in the name of Pope Francis: dormitories, showers, hairdressing, medical consultations, umbrellas, outings to the beach . . .  The Almoner also celebrates the funerals of the homeless around the Vatican. In addition, the Pope sends him to express his support when there are disasters, such as the fire in a Rom caravan in the Eternal City or earthquakes in Italy.

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Family Advantage

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 12:54 PM
Dublin 2018: Pope Grants Plenary Indulgence to Families

Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary

In New Papal Interview, Pope Praises St John XXIII’s Living the Gospel

Francis Speaks to Italian Daily ‘Eco da Bergamo’ as St John XXIII’s Remains Are Visiting His Home Diocese

Pope Meets with “Clericus Cup” Soccer Players at the General Audience

He Is Given the Jerseys of Two Finalist Teams

Homeless, Migrants to Attend Golden Gala

Major Athletic Event in Rome’s Olympic Stadium

Santa Marta: Mass Dedicated to People of China

May 24: Feast of Our Lady of Sheshan

Washington: Catholic Dioceses Give More Than $58.7 Million for Relief

Contributions in Wake of 2017 Hurricanes and Mexico Earthquakes

FORUM: Archbishop Chaput on the Importance of Amendment 8

Archbishop of Philadelphia: ‘From the start, Amendment 8 has been targeted by abortion-rights activists both in Ireland and abroad because it explicitly recognizes the humanity of the unborn child’

SOON TO BE CARDINAL: Iraq: Patriarch Sako’s Cardinalate Is “a Stimulus to Hope”

An Encouragement to Go Forward in the Country’s Reconciliation

Colombia: Pope Receives New Ambassador

Julio Aníbal Riaño Velandia Presents Credentials

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Colombia: Pope Receives New Ambassador

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 10:54 AM

Pope Francis on May 24, 2018, received Julio Aníbal Riaño Velandia, ambassador of Colombia to the Holy See, on the occasion of the presentation of his credential letters.

The following is a brief biography of the new ambassador:

Julio Aníbal Riaño Velandia was born on March 3, 1949, and is married with two children.

He graduated in international law and diplomacy from the Jorge Tadeo Lozano Universidad de Bogotà, then he received a master’s degree in regional economics from the Federal University of Brazil)

He has held, among others, the following offices: editorialist for issues concerning Amazonia; professor at the Javeriana University, Colombian Academy of History; director of theses of the Jorge Tadeo Lozano Universidad de Bogotà; university professor of diplomatic law, international protocol and politics, Jorge Tadeo Lozano Universidad de Bogotà; official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1974); deputy director of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; adjunct director of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; minister-embassy counsellor in Argentina; director general for Asia, Africa and Oceania at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; director general of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1994-1999); ambassador to Costa Rica (1999-2006); director general of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2011); minister of the embassy in Mexico (2011-2013); and ambassador to Salvador (since 2013).

Foreign languages known: French, English, Italian, and Portuguese.

 

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Homeless, Migrants to Attend Golden Gala

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 10:42 AM

On behalf of Pope Francis, the Apostolic Almoner has invited the poor, the homeless, refugees, migrants and needy persons to Rome’s Olympic Stadium to take part, on Thursday afternoon, May 31, in the Golden Gala, the annual international track and field event.

The Apostolic Almoner coordinates various charitable events on behalf of the Holy See. The initiative was made possible thanks to the Italian Athletics Federation, which has reserved free places for “the Holy Father’s poor,” who will be accompanied by volunteers of Sant’Egidio Community, of the Auxilium Cooperative and of Vatican Athletics, the “sprinting” representative group of employees of the Holy See.

The objective is to offer an evening of celebration and friendship, through the beauty of a universal and simple sport, such as athletics, and to re-launch the values of hospitality and solidarity. Pope Francis has reminded many times that the poor are in need not only of food, clothes and a place to sleep, but also of a friendly word, a smile, and occasions of relaxation and healthy recreation.

In the “South Curve” of the Olympic Stadium, the Pope’s guests will also receive a box dinner.

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Santa Marta: Mass Dedicated to People of China

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 10:20 AM

Pope Francis on May 24, 2018, dedicated his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta to the “noble Chinese people”, reported Vatican News.

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sheshan, observed by Chinese Catholics as the Mother of China. The day is marked as a time to for all to pray for the Church in China.

In his homily, the Holy Father – citing John’s Gospel — warned the rich to offer justice to the poor and workers.

“‘Woe to you who are rich.’ If someone today were to preach these words, the media the next day would write: ‘That priest is a communist.’ But poverty is at the center of the Gospel. Preaching about poverty is at the heart of Jesus’ message: ‘Blessed are the poor’ is the first of the Beatitudes. It is the identity card with which Jesus presents himself in the Synagogue when he returns to his town of Nazareth. ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.’ But we have historically given in to the weakness of not preaching about poverty, believing it to be a social or political question. No! It is the Gospel, pure and simple.”

Francis warned of the seduction of riches, noting that they are to be used for the general good.

“You are not free regarding riches. To be free regarding riches you must distance yourself from them and pray to the Lord. If the Lord has given you riches, they are to be given away, in order to do many good things for others in His name. But riches often seduce us and falling into this seduction, we are made slaves to them.”

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shanghai_-_Basilique_de_She_Shan_-_13.jpg

The Holy Father expressed this during his weekly General Audience May 23, 2018, on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of  Sheshan, his wishes for the Catholics of China “fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter.”

Since 2007, at the initiative of Pope Benedict XVI, May 24 marks the Day of Prayer for the Church in China.

In the appeal toward the end of the Audience, Pope Francis invited the crowd to “be spiritually united to all the Catholic faithful living in China.”

“Let us pray for them the Virgin Mary, so that they may live the faith with generosity and serenity, and so that they know how to accomplish concrete gestures of fraternity, concord, and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter,” he encouraged.

“Dearest disciples of the Lord in China,” the Holy Father reminded, “the universal Church prays with you and for you, so that in the midst of difficulties you may continue to entrust yourself to the will of God. The help of the Virgin will never fail you and she will protect you with her motherly love.”

PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF SHESHAN

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Washington: Catholic Dioceses Give More Than $58.7 Million for Relief

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 9:52 AM

In response to the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and earthquakes in Mexico, Catholics across the United States have contributed nearly $59 million to relief and recovery efforts, it was reported May 21, 20176.

Initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), special collections and funds were launched last year to support humanitarian relief efforts as well as to provide pastoral services and financial support to rebuild facilities in dioceses impacted by these disasters.

“The devastation wrought by last year’s unprecedented disasters continues to impact the lives of our brothers and sisters in the United States, across the Caribbean, and in Mexico. We are profoundly grateful to the dioceses that took up special collections or made donations,” said Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections “The support of parishioners is an act of charity and a reflection of love for neighbor. We ask for continued prayers of support for the people affected by these historic natural disasters.”

As of mid-May 2018, US dioceses have remitted the following amounts for relief efforts:

Hurricane Harvey – $37.2 Million

Hurricane Irma – $12.8 Million

Hurricane Maria – $6.1 Million

Mexico Earthquakes – $3.5 Million

Humanitarian relief and recovery efforts are being provided by Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CCUSA is receiving 50% of Hurricane Harvey funds and 30% of both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria funds; CRS is receiving 20% of Hurricane Irma funds. Initial funding from the special collections supported immediate needs such as food, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Long-term disaster recovery is currently underway. CCUSA recently distributed $13.5 million to nine Catholic Charities agencies in Texas and Louisiana where Hurricane Harvey affected countless people.

In response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, CRS worked with Caritas Havana in Cuba to provide roofing and mattresses to affected families. In the British Virgin Islands, CRS, Caritas Antilles, and the British Red Cross set up a joint cash program to help 740 families buy essential items. In Dominica, CRS and Caritas Antilles distributed 750 hygiene kits, 1,590 tarps, 920 buckets and 660 water filters to more than 600 families in four communities in the hardest-hit southeastern region. In the Dominican Republic, CRS partners provided 1,970 families with vouchers for food, hygiene and living supplies, and 330 families with hygiene kits. Teams also worked with the local health ministry to raise awareness about health and hygiene, particularly the danger of waterborne diseases and other health risks.

Two Mexico earthquakes days apart killed nearly 500 people in September 2017 and destroyed homes, infrastructure and utilities, CRS, Caritas Mexico and local partners constructed transitional shelters and distributed 2,859 tarps to vulnerable families. They set up communal cooking facilities to ensure daily hot meals and provided living supplies, including kitchen sets and locally made clay ovens. CRS and its partners also arranged counseling for 1,040 children and young people dealing with grief, distress, and trauma from the earthquakes. Moving forward, CRS will train people to build back better using disaster-resilient construction techniques and to maintain their shelters. In four communities, community-based disaster response teams are being trained in first aid. This outreach was done through CRS’s direct fundraising efforts.

The USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions is managing the US Church share of Hurricane Harvey (50%), Hurricane Irma (30%) and Hurricane Maria (55%) funds. The Subcommittee has awarded $14 million in Hurricane Harvey grants and $3 million in Hurricane Irma grants to assist with Church repairs to parishes and schools in dioceses impacted by the hurricanes. Requests from dioceses for Hurricane Maria support will be considered at the Subcommittee’s June 14 meeting.

The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America is managing the Caribbean Church share of Hurricane Irma (20%) and Hurricane Maria (15%) funds, as well as all contributions to the Mexico Earthquakes fund.

Distributions to the responding organizations will continue to be made as funds are received.

 

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