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Vatican hires consulting firms to improve bookkeeping

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In an effort to streamline and modernize its communications structures and bring its accounting practices in line with international standards, the Vatican hired two international consulting agencies.

The global management-consulting firm McKinsey & Company and the Netherlands-based financial and administrative consultation firm KPMG were hired after a “bidding and selection process,” the Vatican said in a written statement Dec. 19.

The new partnerships were initiatives of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the economic-administrative structure of the Holy See, a panel of business and legal experts Pope Francis created in July to help the Vatican simplify and better coordinate its scattered resources, budgets, properties and assets.

McKinsey & Company was hired to provide recommendations for an “integrated plan” that would help make the Holy See’s communications’ outlets more “efficient and modern,” the Vatican statement said.

The Vatican has nearly a dozen separate communication outlets and offices that operate independently of each other. They include the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano; Vatican Radio; the Vatican television station, CTV; the Vatican Information Service, VIS; the Vatican press hall; Fides missionary news agency; the main Vatican website; the news.va news aggregator; the Vatican publishing house LEV; and the Vatican printing press.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press hall and general director at Vatican Radio, told journalists that McKinsey would consider how to coordinate or integrate the many different outlets and adapt them to the world of digital communication.

He said what was “interesting and new” would be an “overarching look” at the situation from an objective “eye from the outside.”

The company was to report its findings in the next few months to the papal commission, which will then make its recommendations to Pope Francis, Father Lombardi said.

KPMG will work with the commission to determine how to bring the accounting practices of every Vatican body and office in line with international standards, the Vatican statement said.

South African Cardinal Wilfred F. Napier of Durban told Catholic News Service in July that one major problem for the Vatican was the lack of a “unified finance controller and policy.”

The cardinal, who is a member of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See, and regularly reviews the Vatican budgets, said some Vatican offices work together and some are independent when it comes to budgeting and oversight.

Uniform and thorough budgeting approaches and accounting methods were lacking, he said.

The Vatican recently hired an international financial risk-management company, Promontory Financial Group, to review all the accounts and procedures of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See and the Vatican bank.

It also hired a team from Ernst & Young to carry out a “verification and consultation on the economic and administrative activities” of the office that runs Vatican City State.

 

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Man injured after setting self on fire in St. Peter’s Square

December 19th, 2013 Posted in Vatican News Tags: , ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — A 51-year-old man was severely injured after he set himself on fire in St. Peter’s Square.

The unidentified man doused himself with gasoline he had carried in a bottle and then lit himself aflame at the end of the colonnade near Piazza Pio XII at 8:30 in the morning Dec. 19.

A Jesuit priest on his way to work at the Vatican was the first passer-by to come to the man’s aid, according to a written statement from Italian police that was then distributed by the Vatican press hall.

The priest tried to smother the flames with his cloak and jacket. Two Italian police agents on duty at the square went to the scene and used a blanket and fire extinguisher to put out the fire.

The man was hospitalized with severe burns on his upper body and the two agents were treated and released for “respiratory problems and burns to the hands,” the statement said.

The statement said a piece of paper was found nearby that had the phone number of the man’s daughter. It added that the motive for the man’s actions was unknown.

The case was in the hands of the Italian authorities because security and law enforcement in St. Peter’s Square are the responsibility of the Italian police.

In 1998, a 40-year-old Italian man set himself on fire with gasoline in the square on an early morning in mid-January. The man died less than two weeks later after suffering from third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body.

There was another moment of tension Dec. 19, a few hours after the burning incident, when an unidentified woman was escorted away by police from outside the Vatican press hall, several yards from the square. The blond-haired woman was screaming in what some bystanders said seemed to be a Slavic language.

 

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Christmas offers lesson in humility, Pope Francis says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said Christmas is an occasion of joy but also a lesson in humility, when the faithful are called to imitate the example of God-made-man.

The pope made his remarks Dec. 18, during his weekly public audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Pope Francis greets members of the musical group Up With People during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“God abases himself, descends to earth as someone small and poor, which means that to be like him we should not put ourselves above others, but on the contrary, abase ourselves, give ourselves in service, make ourselves small with the small and poor with the poor,” he said.

“It is an ugly thing when one sees a Christian who will not abase himself, who will not serve, a Christian who struts about vainly everywhere,” Pope Francis added. “That is not Christian, that is pagan.”

A Christian is obliged to serve, the pope said, because the incarnation means God is to be found in every person.

“If God, through Jesus, involved himself with man to the point of becoming one of us, that means whatever we have done to a brother or sister we have done” to God, he said.

“The birth of Jesus is the evidence that God has taken man’s side once and for all, to save us, to raise us up from the dust of our miseries, our difficulties, our sins,” Pope Francis said.

Clad in a white overcoat and scarf in frigid but sunny weather, the pope led the crowd in twice calling out: “Jesus is God-with-us.”

He noted the surprising fact that God did not chose to become man “in an ideal, idyllic world, but in this real world, marked by so many good and evil things, marked by divisions, wickedness, poverty, arrogance and war.”

But “Christmas, the nativity of Jesus, (is) a feast of trust and hope, which overcomes uncertainty and pessimism,” Pope Francis said. “The earth is no longer only a vale of tears, it is the place where God himself raised his tent, the place of God’s encounter with man, of God’s solidarity with men.”

Greeting visitors from various linguistic groups after his audience talk, the pope noted the presence of members of Argentina’s San Lorenzo football team, of which he is a longtime fan. Following the audience, team representatives presented the pope with a replica of the national championship trophy they had won a few days earlier.

 

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Francis proclaims one of the first Jesuits a saint, approves beatification of New Jersey nun

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a decree declaring one of his favorite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber, a saint.

St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius of Loyola and Blessed Peter Faber are shown in an icon.  (CNS photo/courtesy of Jesuit General Curia)

The decree is what the Vatican terms an “equivalent canonization,” in which the pope inserts the name of the new saint in the universal calendar of saints without verifying a miracle performed through his intercession and without holding a formal canonization ceremony.

The Vatican announced Dec. 17 that the pope formalized the church’s recognition of the 16th-century priest, who with St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, was a founding member of the Society of Jesus, by “inscribing him in the catalog of saints.”

The same day, the pope advanced the sainthood cause of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, a member of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, N.J., who died in 1927. By recognizing a miracle attributed to her intercession, the pope clears the way for the beatification ceremony to be held.

Sister Demjanovich was born in Bayonne, N.J., in 1901. After attending Bayonne public schools, she began studies at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, graduating in 1923. Two years later, she entered the Sisters of Charity at Convent Station. She wrote a series of spiritual conferences, which were collected and published after her death as a book, “Greater Perfection.” She died in 1927 at the age of 26. She was declared venerable by the Vatican in May 2012.

Welcoming the news of St. Faber’s canonization, a statement from the Jesuit headquarters in Rome said the canonization was significant because it highlights a man who “is a model of the spirituality and priestly life of the current pontiff and at the same time is one of the important references for understanding his style of governance.”

St. Faber, who was born in 1506 in what is now France, shared lodgings with Ignatius and Francis Xavier at the College of St. Barbara at the University of Paris. Faber actually was the first of the Jesuits to be ordained a priest and he celebrated the Mass in 1534 during which St. Ignatius and the others took their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Jesuit Father Marc Lindeijer, vice postulator or promoter of Jesuit sainthood causes, told Catholic News Service Nov. 27 that “more or less right after his election” in March, Pope Francis asked that the process be started for the canonization of St. Faber.

While according to church law Pope Francis could have signed a decree immediately, Father Lindeijer said the pope asked that the cause “be studied and evaluated on its merits.”

The “equivalent canonizations,” used most recently for St. Angela of Foligno and St. Hildegard of Bingen, recognize the candidates’ widespread fame of holiness and veneration by Catholic faithful sustained over centuries.

For modern Jesuits, Father Lindeijer said, the canonization would be another step forward in recognizing that the Society of Jesus was founded by a group of companions and not only by St. Ignatius.

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, who conducted the interview with Pope Francis published in Jesuit periodicals in September, had asked Pope Francis about his favorite Jesuits.

Pope Francis began “by mentioning Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier, but then focuses on a figure that other Jesuits certainly know, but who is of course not as well known to the general public: Peter Faber (1506-46),” Father Spadaro wrote.

Asked what he admired about Faber, the pope replied, his “dialogue with all, even the most remote and even with his opponents; his simple piety, a certain naivete, perhaps, his being available straightaway, his careful interior discernment, the fact that he was a man capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so gentle and loving.”

Pope Francis also recognized the heroic virtues of Father Manuel Herranz Estables, the 20th-century Spanish founder of the Handmaids of Our Lady of Sorrows, and Jerzy Ciesielski, a Polish husband and father who died in Egypt in 1970. Pope Francis declared them venerable; a miracle attributed to their intercession still is needed before they can be beatified. In general, a second such miracle is needed for canonization.

Contributing to this story was Cindy Wooden in Rome.

 

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Pope celebrates birthday by having breakfast with homeless men

By

Catholic News Service

 VATICAN CITY — As part of a low-key celebration of his 77th birthday, Pope Francis had breakfast with three people who live on the streets near the Vatican. A small dog, belonging to one of the homeless men, was also on the guest list.

The pope started the day with his usual morning Mass held in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence where he lives.

Pope Francis talks with three men Dec. 17 who live on the streets near the Vatican. As part of a low-key celebration of his 77th birthday, the pope celebrated morning Mass and had breakfast with the men. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

However, he requested that the Mass be attended by the residence staff “in order to create a particularly family atmosphere for the celebration,” the Vatican press office said in a written statement Dec. 17. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, represented the world’s cardinals at the Mass, and Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, attended.

After the Mass, all those present sang “Happy Birthday” to the pope, the Vatican statement said. The pope then met with everyone, including three homeless men who were brought there by Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner.

The archbishop invited the first group of men he had found early that morning sleeping under the large portico in front of the Vatican press hall on the main boulevard in front of St. Peter’s Square, according to the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

The pope was scheduled to carry out a normal workday, the Vatican said.

Some Vatican offices paid homage to the pope in different ways: the Vatican television center created a special video of visual highlights of Pope Francis’ nine-month-long pontificate; the Vatican internet office posted on the vatican.va website an e-album of images and quotes by the pope; the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, rolled out a newly designed website at www.osservatoreromano.va that lets readers easily share stories on social media.

A group representing the pope’s favorite soccer squad, San Lorenzo de Almagro, had wanted to celebrate the pope’s birthday by showing him the Argentine league championship trophy they won Dec. 16.

However, Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office, said it was expected the group would meet the pope Dec. 18.

A group of children receiving assistance from the Vatican’s St. Martha Dispensary, a maternal and pediatric clinic, had given the pope a surprise birthday party Dec. 14 marked with singing, a real cake with candles and a sweater as a gift.

When presented with the cake, the pope blew out the candles with the children and joked, “I’ll tell you later if it’s good or not.”

Pilgrims gathered for the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 15 also sang “Happy Birthday” as they waited for the pope to appear at the window of the apostolic palace.

 

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Pope reconfirms Canadian cardinal to lead bishops’ congregation

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Nine months after his election, Pope Francis has reconfirmed Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, seen as one of the most powerful offices of the Roman Curia, and expanded the international membership of the congregation.

Among the new members named Dec. 16 were Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington; Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England; Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara, Mexico; and Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Colombia.

The departing members of the congregation include U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signature, the church’s highest court; Cardinal Justin Rigali, retired archbishop of Philadelphia; and 70-year-old Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, president of the Italian bishops’ conference.

Confirming Cardinal Ouellet as prefect Dec. 16, Pope Francis also confirmed 18 current members of the congregation, including Australian Cardinal George Pell of Sydney and U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Besides French Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, the other 15 members reconfirmed are officials or recently retired officials of the Roman Curia.

Cardinal Ouellet, the 69-year-old the former archbishop of Quebec, was first appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 to head of the congregation that oversees the vetting and appointment of bishops for Latin-rite dioceses around the world.

Technically, all heads of Vatican congregations and councils lose their jobs at the end of a pontificate.

Just three days after his election in March, Pope Francis formally reconfirmed the prefects, presidents and secretaries of Vatican congregations and councils “donec aliter provideatur” (until otherwise provided), meaning for the time being. While temporary reappointments are normal at the beginning of a pontificate, the Vatican said the pope intended to take “time for reflection, prayer and dialogue before making any definitive appointments or confirmations.”

In September, Pope Francis confirmed German Archbishop Gerhard Muller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, along with all the members and consultants of the congregation. He also confirmed Italian Cardinal Fernando Filoni as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and named Italian Archbishop Beniamino Stella to be the new prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. In late November, he confirmed Polish Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

The confirmation or appointment of prefects for the congregations for religious, saints’ causes, worship and Eastern churches have yet to be announced.

 

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Francis discusses Marxism, women cardinals, ecumenism and Christmas

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In another wide-ranging interview with an Italian journalist, Pope Francis denied he was a Marxist but said he took no offense at the label; dismissed the notion of women cardinals; and reflected on Christmas as an occasion of joy, tenderness and hope.

The pope made his remarks in an interview with Andrea Tornielli of the Italian daily La Stampa and the website Vatican Insider. The interview was conducted Dec. 10 and published Dec. 14.

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“Marxist ideology is wrong, but I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended” at being branded one, Pope Francis said.

Following the publication of the pope’s apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” (“The Joy of the Gospel”) Nov. 26, U.S. radio show host Rush Limbaugh denounced what he called “pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.”

“There is nothing in the exhortation that cannot be found in the social doctrine of the church,” the pope said. He acknowledged rejecting what he termed “trickle-down theories” of economic growth, but said such a position “does not mean being a Marxist.”

Pope Francis repeated earlier calls for an end to world hunger, recounting a recent encounter during a public audience with a woman holding an infant.

“The child was crying its eyes out as I came past,” the pope said. “‘Please give it something to eat!’ I said. She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public while the pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat!”

Asked about the possibility of creating women cardinals, Pope Francis said: “I don’t know where this idea sprang from. Women in the church must be valued, not clericalized. Whoever thinks of women as cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism.”

The pope reaffirmed his commitment to ecumenism, noting that Christians around the world are already bound together by their common experience of martyrdom.

“Those who kill Christians don’t ask for your identity card to see which church you were baptized in,” he said. “We are united in blood, even though we have not yet managed to take necessary steps toward unity between us, and perhaps the time has not yet come.”

Pope Francis mentioned a German priest pursuing the sainthood causes of a Catholic priest and a Lutheran pastor, both killed by the Nazis for teaching the catechism to children.

“This is what ecumenism of blood is,” the pope said.

Recalling Pope Paul VI’s historic visit to Jerusalem in 1964, when he met Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople, Pope Francis said the Vatican was preparing for him to mark that event’s 50th anniversary in 2014 with a papal visit to the Holy Land, including a meeting with the current Patriarch Bartholomew.

The pope noted the sufferings of Christians in the Holy Land: “On Christmas night, I think above all of the Christians who live there, of those who are in difficulty, of the many people who have had to leave that land because of various problems.”

Yet he emphasized that, despite the world’s misery, “Christmas is joy, religious joy, an inner joy of light and peace” and “speaks of tenderness and hope.”

“God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it,” the pope said. “Even a corrupt person has this ability. Poor him, it’s probably a bit rusty, but he has it.”

 

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The church is a house of joy, pope says on Gaudete Sunday

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Sadness is a sign of being far from Christ because Jesus offers everyone the strength to persevere with hope and joy, Pope Francis said.

“God is the one who came to save us and offer help, especially to hearts gone astray,” he said before praying the Angelus Dec. 15, Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday.

A girl in St. Peter’s Square holds baby Jesus figurines for Pope Francis to bless during his Angelus at the Vatican Dec. 15. Children observed an annual tradition by bringing their Nativity figurines for the pope to bless. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“The church is not a refuge for sad people, the church is a house of joy” because the Christian message is Good News, “a proclamation of joy for all people,” he said.

Despite the rain, tens of thousands of pilgrims turned out in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly prayer and to have the pope bless the figurines of Baby Jesus that children bring and then place in their Nativity scene at home or at school.

The pope asked the children to remember him when they pray in front of their Nativity scenes just as he remembers them in his prayers.

Before the Angelus, the pope said that no matter how big people’s sins and limits, Christians are not allowed “to be weak and waver before difficulties and our own flaws.”

“On the contrary, we are invited to toughen our hands, steady our knees and have courage and not be afraid because God always shows the greatness of his mercy.”

Perhaps people may think their sins are so great that it is impossible to start over, he said. “You’re wrong. You can. Why? Because God is waiting for you, he loves you,” is merciful and will give the strength needed for a fresh start and to overcome all pain and sorrow, the pope said.

“This true joy even remains during times of trial, suffering, too, because it is not superficial, but lies deep in the person who trusts in God and confides in him.”

Christian joy and hope are grounded in God’s fidelity, “in the certainty that he always keeps his promises,” he said, adding that this joy flows from knowing you are welcomed and loved by God.

Christian joy is found in Jesus Christ’s faithful and boundless love, he said, that is why “when a Christian becomes sad, it means he has strayed from Jesus.”

“However, it’s necessary then to not leave him alone. We must pray for him and make him feel the warmth of the community,” he said.

Before the pope appeared at the window of the apostolic palace, people in the square sang “Happy Birthday” ahead of his Dec. 17 birthday when he will turn 77.

The day before, children and parents he met in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall gave him a surprise birthday party marked with singing and a real cake with candles. The children and families use the Vatican’s St. Martha Dispensary, a maternal and pediatric clinic.

The pope first visited the dispensary, which is staffed by volunteers and serves mainly immigrant families, before he met in the audience hall with the families who have been receiving care.

In the hall, a group of children piled large blocks on top of each other to reveal the pope’s picture and the Italian word “Auguri,” meaning “Happy Birthday.”

Another group of kids wearing white T-shirts with a yellow letter printed on each one, assembled themselves to spell out “Happy Birthday, Pope Francis” in Italian.

When presented with the cake, the pope blew out the candles. He joked, “I’ll tell you later if it’s good or not.” He thanked the children for their joy and gifts, which included a sweater.

Rather than giving a talk, the pope spent the audience greeting, holding and blessing the children there. One small boy the pope was holding plucked the pope’s skullcap off his head. The pope laughed and managed to put the cap back.

Also, the Vatican announced Dec. 14 that the director of papal charities was going to distribute phone cards and public transportation passes to the city’s poor.

On behalf of the pope, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski was overseeing the distribution of 2,000 envelopes containing the passes and cards as well as a small Christmas card with the pope’s signature. Each envelope also had a Vatican stamp affixed to it so it could be used in mailing a greeting to friends or loved ones, the Vatican said.

 

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Christmas lights reflect truth that Christ is light of world, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The lights glowing on the Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square, like Christmas lights everywhere, are reminders that Jesus is the light of the world, Pope Francis said.

While he did not attend the Vatican’s tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 13, the pope personally thanked the German donors and their Czech neighbors for the tree during an audience earlier in the day.

The cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica and the top of the Vatican Christmas tree are seen following a lighting ceremony in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 13. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The 82-feet-tall tree was a gift of the German city of Waldmunchen, but it grew just over the border in the Czech Republic. Mayors from Bavaria in Germany and Bohemia in the Czech Republic joined hands to light the tree.

“This tree is international,” the pope told the 350 pilgrims who traveled to the Vatican for the tree-lighting ceremony.

The Gospel story of Jesus’ birth tells how the shepherds tending their flocks nearby were surrounded by a “great light,” the pope said. “Today, too, Jesus continues to dispel the darkness of error and sin and brings humanity the joy of blazing divine light.”

“We should let ourselves be enveloped by the light of his truth so that the joy of the Gospel would fill the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus,” he said.

As the sun was about to set, the German and Czech pilgrims, many in traditional costumes, gathered with Vatican officials for the ceremony. The festivities began with the Vatican police band playing the Vatican and German national anthems.

The Bavarians said they particularly were proud that it was the second time they donated a tree to the Vatican; the first was in 1984.

Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State, told the pilgrims that while the Christmas tree was a northern European tradition, it was a custom Pope John Paul II brought to the Vatican in 1982.

“The tree, in every culture, is a symbol of life,” the cardinal said. A Christmas tree is a reminder that “the Lord comes to give us his life. Let us welcome him in our hearts and, in the glow of its light, let us bring him to the world.”

 

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Morning homily: Constant criticism of preachers is usually sign of fear, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Christians who find something to criticize in every preacher they ever hear are not simply fussy, Pope Francis said, they usually are afraid.

“They are scandalized that God speaks through human beings who have limits, human sinners. And they are even more scandalized that God speaks to us and saves us through a man who says he is the son of God, but ends up dying like a criminal,” the pope said Dec. 13 at his early morning Mass.

(CNS file/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis focused his homily on the day’s Gospel reading from St. Matthew where Jesus describes many of his contemporaries as being like spoiled children and says they criticize St. John the Baptist because he didn’t eat or drink, while they criticize Jesus because he did.

“The people of his time preferred to take refuge in a very elaborate religion: for the Pharisees, it was moral precepts; for the Sadducees, political compromise; for the Zealots, social revolution; and for the Essenes, gnostic spirituality,” the pope said. “They had very clean, very organized systems.”

However, he said, they didn’t want preachers and they definitely didn’t want prophets.

“Jesus reminds them: ‘Your fathers did the same with the prophets,’” the pope said. “The people of God have a kind of allergy to preachers of the word. They persecuted and even killed the prophets.”

The people “preferred to be caged up” with their own precepts or plans, he said. And there are Christians today who are equally “caged up, these sad Christians.”

“They are afraid of the freedom of the Holy Spirit, who comes through preaching,” he said. Through preaching the Holy Spirit “admonishes you, teaches you, may even slap you, but it is precisely what makes the church grow.”

Jesus’ description of the “children who are afraid to dance, to cry, who are afraid of everything and want security in everything makes me think of those sad Christians who always criticize those who preach the truth because they are afraid to open the door to the Holy Spirit.”

 

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