Home » Posts tagged 'Pope'

Pope: Spirit helps church see wrongs in death penalty, slavery

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Faith is a journey guided by the Holy Spirit, who helps the church grow in understanding the sinful nature of once-accepted practices like slavery and the death penalty, Pope Francis said.

While people once even used religious reasons to justify practices such as slavery, the death penalty and “wars of religion,” over time the Holy Spirit has deepened the church’s understanding of the Gospel, the pope said May 11 in his homily during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta.

Pope Francis celebrates his morning Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis celebrates his morning Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

Slavery “is a mortal sin; today we say this. Back then, some would say that this could be done because these people did not have a soul,” he said. The number of people enslaved today is “even more, but at least we know that it is a mortal sin. The same goes for the death penalty; for a time, it was normal. Today, we say that the death penalty is inadmissible.”

Reflecting on the day’s first reading in which St. Paul recounts God’s works throughout history, Pope Francis said the Lord “guides his people in good times and in bad times, through freedom and slavery.”

Like the people of Israel, he said, God also guides the church along the path toward the fullness of time “with many saints and many sinners; between grace and sin.”

It is those saints, some well-known and others who are “hidden,” who “clarify faith and clarify morals,” the pope said.

However, Christians who choose to stop along the path “become a prisoner in a stable, like a donkey,” and end up not deepening their faith and understanding God’s love in their own lives, he said.

Individually, he said, each person also is moving toward the fullness of their own time, the point when they die and come face to face with the Lord.

When Catholics go to confession, he said, they should consider not only the shame they feel for their sins, but they should recognize that confession as another step they need to make in preparation for meeting the Lord.

“Asking God’s forgiveness is not automatic,” he said.

By understanding their sins and asking God for forgiveness, Christians will discover that they are part of “a people on the way and that one day, perhaps today, tomorrow or in 30 years, I will find myself face to face with that Lord who never leaves us alone, who accompanies us on the way.”

“This is the great work of God’s mercy,” he said.

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Pope: Spirit helps church see wrongs in death penalty, slavery

Pope: U.S., North Korea need diplomatic solution to escalating tensions

By

Catholic News Service

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM CAIRO — A diplomatic solution must be found to the escalating tension between North Korea and the United States, Pope Francis told journalists.

“The path (to take) is the path of negotiation, the path of a diplomatic solution,” he said when asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to send Navy warships to the region in response to North Korea’s continued missile tests and threats to launch nuclear strikes against South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Pope Francis listens to a question from Vera Shcherbakova of the Itar-Tass news agency while talking with journalists aboard his flight from Cairo to Rome April 29. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis listens to a question from Vera Shcherbakova of the Itar-Tass news agency while talking with journalists aboard his flight from Cairo to Rome April 29. (CNS/Paul Haring)

“What do you say to these leaders who hold responsibility for the future of humanity,” the pope was asked, during a Q-and-A with journalists on the flight to Rome April 29 after a 27-hour trip to Cairo.

“I will call on them. I’m going to call on them like I have called on the leaders of different places,” he said.

There are many facilitators and mediators around the world who are “always ready to help” with negotiations, the pope said.

The situation in North Korea, he added, has been heated for a long time, “but now it seems it has heated up too much, no?”

“I always call (for) resolving problems through the diplomatic path, negotiations” because the future of humanity depends on it, he said.

Pope Francis said his contention that the Third World War already is underway and is being fought “piecemeal” also can be seen in places where there are internal conflicts like in the Middle East, Yemen and parts of Africa.

“Let’s stop. Let’s look for a diplomatic solution,” he said. “And there, I believe that the United Nations has a duty to regain its leadership (role) a bit because it has been watered down.”

When asked if he would want to meet with President Trump when the U.S. leader is in Italy in late May, the pope said, “I have not been informed yet by the (Vatican) secretary of state about a request being made.”

But he added, “I receive every head of state who asks for an audience.”

A journalist with German media asked the pope about the controversy he sparked April 22 for saying some refugee camps are like concentration camps.

“For us Germans obviously that is a very, very serious term. People say it was a slip of the tongue. What did you want to say?” the reporter asked.

“No, it was not a slip of the tongue,” Pope Francis said, adding that there are some refugee camps in the world, but definitely not in Germany, that “are real concentration camps.”

When centers are built to lock people up, where there is nothing to do and they can’t leave, that is a “lager,” he said, referring to the German word for concentration camps.

Another reporter asked how people should interpret his speeches to government officials when he calls on them to support peace, harmony and equality for all citizens, and whether it reflected him supporting that government.

The pope said that with all 18 trips he has taken to various countries during his pontificate, he always hears the same concern.

However, when it comes to local politics, “I do not get involved,” he said.

“I talk about values,” he said, and then it is up to each individual to look and judge whether this particular government or nation or person is “delivering these values.”

When asked if he had had a chance to run off to see the pyramids, the pope said, “Well, you know that today at six in this morning two of my assistants went to see” them.

When asked if he wished he had gone with them, too, the pope said, “Ah, yes.”

Comments Off on Pope: U.S., North Korea need diplomatic solution to escalating tensions

Pope Francis: Real Christian hope is rooted in faith

March 30th, 2017 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: , ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Hope is not built on people’s predictions, assurances or line of reasoning, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Real Christian hope “is not based on our word, but on God’s Word” and promises of salvation and eternal life, the pope said during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square March 29.

Continuing a series of reflections on how the Apostle Paul describes the nature of Christian hope, the pope looked at how Abraham’s faith is held up as a model for everyone in the apostle’s Letter to the Romans (4:16-25).

Despite all logic — Abraham was old and his wife infertile — Abraham “believed, hoping against hope that he would become ‘the father of many nations,’” which shows how faith is so closely connected to hope, the pope said.

“Our hope is not based on human reasoning, predictions and assurances,” he said; real hope arises “where there is no more hope, where there is nothing left to hope for.”

True hope “is rooted in faith and, precisely for this reason, it is able to go beyond all hope” because it is built on faith in God and his promise, he said.

“This is the paradox and, at the same time, the strongest part,” he said, because from a human point of view, that promise seems “unsure and unforeseeable.”

Looking at the people gathered for the general audience, the pope asked them if they really believed in God’s love for them and his promise of eternal life.

“There is only one price” to be paid for this, he said. “Opening your heart. Open your hearts and God’s power will carry you forward. He will do miraculous things and he will teach you what hope is.”

Just “open your heart to faith and he will do the rest,” he added.

Mary, too, believed in the unbelievable when the angel told her she would become the mother of God, the pope said in remarks to pilgrims from Arabic-speaking countries, particularly Iraq.

Like Mary, they are called to embrace that which they do not understand God is doing, and to open their hearts and minds to him, so that his will may be done, he said.

He later launched an appeal for more to be done to protect civilians in Iraq, reaffirming his prayers for civilians trapped in parts of Mosul and those displaced by war.

The pope also greeted a delegation of Iraqi authorities representing Shiites and Sunnis, and one representing Christians and other religious minorities, who were accompanied by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

“The richness of the beloved Iraqi nation lies precisely in this mosaic that represents unity in diversity, the strength of union, prosperity in harmony,” the pope said.

He encouraged them to continue their efforts and invited people to pray that “Iraq may find peace, unity and prosperity through reconciliation and harmony among its diverse ethnic and religious communities.”

 

Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz.

Comments Off on Pope Francis: Real Christian hope is rooted in faith

Pope, Armenian leader highlight Christian unity

By

Catholic News Service

VAGHARSHAPAT, Armenia — Recognizing that the church of Christ is one and that Christian divisions are a “scandal” to the world, Pope Francis and Armenian Apostolic Catholicos Karekin II offered their faithful the example of praying and working together.

Catholicos Karekin II, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, exchanges greetings with Pope Francis during a divine liturgy at Etchmiadzin in Vagharshapat, Armenia, June 26. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Catholicos Karekin II, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, exchanges greetings with Pope Francis during a divine liturgy at Etchmiadzin in Vagharshapat, Armenia, June 26. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Approaching the end of his three-day trip to Armenia, Pope Francis attended the Divine Liturgy celebrated June 26 by the patriarch at Etchmiadzin, the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church. To accommodate the crowd, the liturgy was held outdoors at a towering stone sanctuary used for major celebrations.

Under a gold-trimmed red canopy, the patriarch and pope processed to the sanctuary together before the pope bowed to the patriarch and moved to the side. He used a small booklet to follow the liturgy, which is celebrated in “grabar,” as ancient liturgical Armenian is called.

In his homily, Catholicos Karekin told his faithful and his guests, “During these days together with our spiritual brother, Pope Francis, with joint visits and prayers we reconfirmed that the holy church of Christ is one in the spreading of the Gospel of Christ in the world, in taking care of creation, standing against common problems, and in the vital mission of the salvation of man.”

All Christians, he said, share the mission of “the strengthening of solidarity among nations and peoples (and the) reinforcing of brotherhood and collaboration.”

The catholicos warned of modern attacks on the faith, including a selfish lack of concern for “those who long for daily bread and are in pain and suffering,” as well as other “economic, political, social, environmental” problems. Yet the Gospel and the churches that preach it, he said, know that God continues to promise his loving care and wants Christians to go out preaching salvation and helping the poor.

Invited to address the gathering, like Catholicos Karekin spoke at Pope Francis’ Mass in Gyumri the day before, Pope Francis said, “We have met, we have embraced as brothers, we have prayed together and shared the gifts, hopes and concerns of the church of Christ.”

“We believe and experience that the church is one,” the pope said.

Using words from St. Gregory of Narek, a 10th-century Armenian monk declared a “doctor of the church” by Pope Francis last year, he prayed that the Holy Spirit would dissolve the “scandal” of Christian division with the power of love.

Christian unity is not and cannot be about “the submission of one to the other or assimilation,” the pope said, but rather should be an acceptance of the different gifts God has given to different Christians at different times.

“Let us respond to the appeal of the saints, let us listen to the voices of the humble and poor, of the many victims of hatred who suffered and gave their lives for the faith,” Pope Francis. “Let us pay heed to the younger generation, who seek a future free of past divisions.”

The Armenian Apostolic Church is one of the six independent Oriental Orthodox churches that were divided from the rest of Christianity after the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The six, which include the Syrian Orthodox Church, are in full communion with each other, but not with the Eastern Orthodox churches such as the Russian Orthodox.

For centuries the Oriental Orthodox were regarded by the rest of Christianity as adhering to a heretical teaching on the nature of Christ, but recent scholarship has led theologians and church authorities on both sides to affirm that the Christological differences were not doctrinal; rather, both sides profess the same faith but use different formulas to express it.

Common declarations about Christ’s humanity and divinity were signed between 1971 and 1996 by the heads of each Oriental Orthodox Church and Pope Paul VI or Pope John Paul II.

Before vesting for the liturgy at Etchmiadzin, Armenian Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan of Tavush, an Orthodox diocese that shares borders with Georgia and Azerbaijain, stood scanning the crowd. Every few seconds, someone would identify him as a bishop and approach for a blessing, which he gave with a broad smile.

The crowd at the liturgy was predominantly young. “We are an ancient people, an ancient church, with a young faith,” the 45-year-old bishop explained.

The day’s liturgy is “a great celebration,”Bishop Galstanyan said. The Catholicos and pope are “brothers together declaring to the world that Christians must stay together, must be together, must be a voice for the world.”

Orthodox Father Zakaria Baghumyan, who was directing press operations for the catholicos during the visit, said the pope asking for a blessing from the patriarch is “just a sign of brotherly love. It’s a sign of respect for our church and our nation.”

 

Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden

Comments Off on Pope, Armenian leader highlight Christian unity

Challenging questions a sign faithful aren’t content with ‘same old answers,’ preacher tells pope

By

 

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — At the end of a Lenten retreat focused on questions in the Gospels, Servite Father Ermes Ronchi told Pope Francis and senior members of the Roman Curia that it is tempting to bristle when the faithful ask challenging questions, but he is certain it is a sign of how seriously they take the faith.

Pope Francis, along with senior members of the Roman Curia, listen as Servite Father Ermes Ronchi, an Italian theologian, delivers his meditation during a weeklong Lenten retreat in Ariccia, Italy, March 7. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis, along with senior members of the Roman Curia, listen as Servite Father Ermes Ronchi, an Italian theologian, delivers his meditation during a weeklong Lenten retreat in Ariccia, Italy, March 7. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

“It gives me hope to see how, among the people of God, questions continue to grow and no one is content with the same old answers,” Father Ronchi told the retreatants March 11 during his last talk before the pope and Curia members returned to the Vatican.

“When everyone silently accepted the word of a priest was it a time of greater faith,” he asked. “I think the opposite is true and even if this means more work for us, it is also an ‘alleluia,’ a ‘finally.’”

Mary’s question — “How can this be?” — in response to the Annunciation was Father Ronchi’s focus for the final meditation at the March 6-11 retreat at a center run by the Pauline Fathers in Ariccia, 20 miles southeast of Rome. While the retreat was private, Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, provided coverage of Father Ronchi’s talks.

“Being perplexed, asking questions is a way of standing before the Lord with all of one’s human dignity,” the Servite said. Like Mary, “I accept the mystery, but at the same time I use my intelligence.”

“No one ever said that a rock-solid faith is better than a faith interwoven with questions,” Father Ronchi said; questioners know and show that they need God and need dialogue with him.

In a reflection March 10, Father Ronchi looked at the risen Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

“The first words of the Risen One in the garden on Easter,” he said, “have an extraordinary tenderness: ‘Tell me about your tears; they are more important to me than anything.’”

The preacher insisted that “God’s archive, his memory,” is not full of lists of people’s sins, but of their tears and suffering.

Stopping, listening and touching those in pain was Jesus’ response to tears and must be the response of his followers, Father Ronchi said. But, unfortunately, “centuries of moralism have turned the works of mercy into reluctant obligations, as if they were the price of salvation.”

His talk about tears followed an evening meditation March 9 on Jesus’ question to the woman caught in adultery. After Jesus told the crowd that whoever was without sin should cast the first stone, the crowd left and Jesus asked the woman, “Has no one condemned you?”

Father Ronchi said, “Those who love to accuse, who get drunk off the defects of others, think they are safeguarding the truth by stoning those who err. But it is how wars are started” between countries or within communities, including churches.

In the Gospel story, he said, “the judgment against the woman caught in adultery boomerangs against the hypocrisy of the judges: No one can throw the first stone because they would be hurling it at themselves.”

The Gospel story does not minimize the woman’s sin, he said, but illustrates Jesus’ focus on helping her turn her life around; “Go, and from now on do not sin any more,” Jesus tells her.

Comments Off on Challenging questions a sign faithful aren’t content with ‘same old answers,’ preacher tells pope

Parishes hold ‘watch celebrations’ for those who can’t see pope live

By

 

For The Dialog

LEWES – Bernadette Cajina had a ticket to last Sunday’s Papal Mass in Philadelphia, but a leg ailment made that impossible.

So Cajina, using a crutch, went to St. Jude the Apostle’s parish hall where she joined about 200 others to watch Pope Francis via Eternal Word Television Network.

“I guess I wasn’t meant to be there,” said Cajina, a member of the St. Jude pastoral council who chairs the adult faith formation committee. “That’s fine. I’m here, and [Pope Francis’] message is coming through.”

“It’s a beautiful message of mercy and love, unconditional love, that he’s trying to share.” Read more »

Comments Off on Parishes hold ‘watch celebrations’ for those who can’t see pope live

Pope, saying he’s ‘a bit feminist,’ thanks women religious for hard work

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Calling himself “a bit feminist,” Pope Francis praised women religious for always heading to the “front lines” to bring the church’s tenderness and motherly love to those most in need.

Pope Francis leaves an audience with religious from around the world in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Sept. 17. The pope praised women religious for always heading to the "front lines" to bring the church's tenderness and motherly love to those most in need. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis leaves an audience with religious from around the world in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Sept. 17. The pope praised women religious for always heading to the “front lines” to bring the church’s tenderness and motherly love to those most in need. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“The church thanks you for this, it is a beautiful witness. This is being close. Be close. Close to people’s problems, real problems,” he said during an audience Sept. 17 with young consecrated women and men from around the world, including Iraq and Syria.

He began the audience by directing attention to “our martyrs in Iraq and Syria, our martyrs of today,” revealing that he now keeps on him a small cross that a priest held in his hand while he was being murdered for his faith.

“A few days ago in (St. Peter’s) Square, an Iraqi priest came up to me and gave me a small cross. It was the cross being held by the priest who was beheaded for not renouncing Jesus Christ,” he said. The Vatican press office had no information about the priest mentioned by the pope.

About 5,000 people gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall for the hour-long papal audience; they were taking part in the World Meeting for Young Consecrated Men and Women Sept. 15-19.

At the pope’s request, members of the audience asked him questions, which he said he received in advance. The questions came from a Salesian priest from Aleppo, Syria; a member of the Sisters of Charity from India; and a cloistered nun not in attendance but whose question was read aloud. In response, the Jesuit pope spoke 40 minutes off-the-cuff about living out a religious vocation in today’s world.

When talking about how successful evangelizers have a heart filled with fire and are driven to warm other people’s lives with Christ, the pope said he wanted to add something to that.

“Here I would like to, forgive me if I’m a bit feminist, give thanks to the witness of consecrated women. Not all of them though, some are a bit frantic!” he said to laughter and applause.

Women religious “have this desire to always go to the front lines. Why? Because you’re mothers, you have the maternal instinct of the church, which makes you be near” people in need, he said.

He told a story of three South Korean sisters who went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to help staff a Catholic hospital in the archdiocese he once led, but “they knew as much Spanish as I know Chinese — nothing!”

Nonetheless, the three sisters immediately went to the wards, helping patients, holding them, giving them a smile, and the patients kept praising how wonderful the sisters were even though they never said a word.

“It was the witness of a heart on fire. It is the motherhood of nuns,” he said.

“You truly have this function in the church, to be the icon of the church, the icon of Mary, icon of the church’s tenderness, the church’s love, the motherhood of church and the motherhood of Our Lady. Do not forget this. Always on the front lines, but like this.”

Evangelizing, in fact, is all about showing “with your flesh, with your life” that Jesus Christ is alive, Pope Francis said.

“We are not a soccer club looking for members or supporters,” he said.

Religious men and women can take courses on evangelization and deepen their studies, which “is good, but the ability to warm hearts doesn’t come from books, it comes from your heart!”

Men and women living in religious communities, he said, need to guard themselves against “narcissism,” gossiping and never forgiving one another, which is “one of the sins I often find in communal life.”

Open dialogue and discussion, including with superiors, can lead to arguments, the pope said, but being open to the Holy Spirit means also being able to forgive and not seek revenge, especially by bad-mouthing the other.

“Gossip in a community hampers forgiveness” and draws people further away from each other. The pope told his audience to go to confession if they were guilty of gossiping because “it’s a sin.”

Gossip is a form of “terrorism” because the person causing the damage is hiding in the shadows, never letting the victim defend him or herself, he said.

“Gossip always happens in the darkness, not in the light,” the pope said. “And darkness is the kingdom of the devil. The light is the Kingdom of Jesus.”

The best approach if someone feels slighted or disagrees with someone, he said, is to pray about it first in order to achieve some kind of inner peace and then go directly to the person involved to clearly state the problem.

“Never, never throw the bomb of gossip. Never. It is the plague of communal life,” he said.

Comments Off on Pope, saying he’s ‘a bit feminist,’ thanks women religious for hard work

War, greed and consumerism harm families, pope says

June 3rd, 2015 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: , ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Families are weakened and destroyed by war, “the mother of all forms of poverty,” as well as by economies and policies that worship money and power, Pope Francis said.

“It’s almost a miracle” that, even in poverty and crisis, the family can keep on going, safeguarding its bonds and staying intact, he said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square June 3.

Pope Francis greets people during his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 3. (CNS photo/Alessandro Di Meo, EPA)

Pope Francis greets people during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 3. (CNS photo/Alessandro Di Meo, EPA)

Leaders who consider family ties and affection as something peripheral to the quality of life “don’t understand a thing,” he said. “Instead, we should kneel before these families, who are a true school of humanity, who are saving society from barbarity.”

Continuing a series of talks about the family, the pope began a new chapter addressing the various social conditions and problems that put today’s families to the test.

The pope began by focusing on the hardship of poverty, which is further aggravated by war.

“War is always something terrible,” he said, as it is “a great predator of lives, of souls and the most sacred and dearest of attachments.”

But despite such difficulties, there still are many poor families who are able to live “with dignity, seeking to live their daily life” and placing their trust in God, the pope said.

The ability of some poor families to persevere, “however, must not justify our indifference, but, if anything, increase our shame that there is so much poverty,” he said.

“What are we left with, in fact, if we give in to the extortion of Caesar and Mammon, of violence and money, and we also reject familial attachments?” he asked.

Healthy families are the “mainstay” of healthy individuals and communities, he said, so if that cornerstone is removed, “everything collapses.”

“Today’s economy often specializes in the enjoyment of individual well-being, but widely practices the exploitation of family relationships. This is a serious contradiction,” he said, criticizing economic and political experts as being “stingy” in not recognizing or including the “enormous work of the family” in their analyses and balance sheets.

“A new civil ethics will come about only when those responsible for public life reorganize social bonds starting with the fight against the perverse spiral” of poverty, he said.

Fighting poverty is not just a matter of families getting bread on the table, the pope said; it is about having jobs, stable employment, education, health care, housing and transportation.

The conditions found in poor neighborhoods and “the reduction of social services — health care and schooling — cause further difficulties” for families, he said.

Spread by the mass media, “fake models” of the family based on “consumerism and the cult of appearance” also harm families, he said, and have a greater impact on poorer families and increase the breakdown of family ties.

The church and its members are called to heal families and fight poverty, he said.

By becoming poor and practicing simplicity, the pope said, the church can break down “every wall of separation, especially from the poor” and become more effective in responding to poverty.

Pope Francis called on Christian families to pray and act on behalf of those in need, and join “this revolution” of drawing near to families, “which is so needed now.”

He asked those gathered in the square to listen carefully and think of a disadvantaged family they knew as he reread a passage from the Book of Sirach (4:1-6) that had been read at the start of the audience.

The verses tell people not to mock, anger or reject the poor, but to relieve them of their burdens.

The poor will be the first to judge those who ignore their cries, he said, followed by God’s judgment and curse “if we don’t do these things” commanded in the Gospel.

 

Comments Off on War, greed and consumerism harm families, pope says

Prolong Christmas joy by serving others, pope says on feast of St. Stephen

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The day after Christmas, Pope Francis warned Catholics about two related temptations: giving Christmas a “false, sugary coating” and not putting the faith one professes into action.

Reciting the Angelus Dec. 26 — a holiday in Italy and the feast of St. Stephen, the martyred deacon who served the poor, the pope said Stephen “honored the coming into the world of the king of kings, gave witness to him and offered as a gift his life in service for the poorest. In that way, he shows us how to fully live the mystery of Christmas.”

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to deliver his Christmas blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to deliver his Christmas blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

In the day’s Gospel reading from St. Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples, “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

The reading, Pope Francis said, doesn’t “break up the celebration of Christmas, but it strips it of that false, sugary coating that does not belong to it.”

“If we really want to welcome Jesus into our lives and prolong the joy of that holy night,” he said, “the path is indicated by this Gospel: Give witness to Christ in humility, in silent service, without being afraid of going against the current and paying the price.”

Not everyone is called to martyrdom, he said, “but every Christian is called in every situation to be consistent with the faith he or she professes.”

One cannot say, “‘I’m a Christian,’ and live like a pagan,” the pope said.

Remembering St. Stephen as the first Christian martyr, Pope Francis also urged the thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for “all those who are discriminated against, persecuted and killed for their witness of Christ. I want to say to each of them: If you carry this cross with love, you have entered into the mystery of Christmas, and you are in the heart of Christ and of the church.”

The pope also asked for prayers that “the sacrifice of today’s martyrs, and they are many, would strengthen in every part of the world the commitment to recognizing and concretely assuring religious freedom, which is the inalienable right of every human person.”

 

Comments Off on Prolong Christmas joy by serving others, pope says on feast of St. Stephen

Pope Francis defends traditional marriage as a matter of ‘human ecology’

November 17th, 2014 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: , ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called for preserving the family as an institution based on marriage between a man and a woman, which he said is not a political cause but a matter of “human ecology.”

Newly married couples Marco Purcaro and Laura Capurso, center, and Fiorenzo Genito and Lidia Tortora, right, react after exchanging vows as Pope Francis celebrates the marriage rite for 20 couples during a Mass last September in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 14. At left is Flaviano Picchi and Giulia Capozi, who are preparing to exchange vows. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Newly married couples Marco Purcaro and Laura Capurso, center, and Fiorenzo Genito and Lidia Tortora, right, react after exchanging vows as Pope Francis celebrates the marriage rite for 20 couples during a Mass last September in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 14. At left is Flaviano Picchi and Giulia Capozi, who are preparing to exchange vows. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“The complementarity of man and woman … is at the root of marriage and the family,” the pope said Nov. 17, opening a three-day interreligious conference on traditional marriage. “Children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.”

Pope Francis said that “marriage and the family are in crisis. We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. The revolution in mores and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.”

According to the pope, the “crisis in the family has produced an ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. And although the human race has come to understand the need to address conditions that menace our natural environments, we have been slower — we have been slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic culture — to recognize that our fragile social environments are also at risk. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology.”

Pope Francis voiced hope that young people would be “revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the current.” But he also warned against falling into the “trap of being swayed by ideological concepts.”

“We cannot speak today of the conservative family or the progressive family,” he said. “The family is the family.”

The pope also stressed that the complementarity between male and female does not necessarily entail stereotypical gender roles.

“Let us not confuse (complementarity) with the simplistic idea that all the roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern,” he said. “Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the education of their children.”

Pope Francis said Christians find the meaning of complementarity in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, “where the apostle tells us that the Spirit has endowed each of us with different gifts so that — just as the human body’s members work together for the good of the whole — everyone’s gifts can work together for the benefit of each.”

“To reflect upon complementarity is nothing less than to ponder the dynamic harmonies at the heart of all creation,” the pope said.

 

Comments Off on Pope Francis defends traditional marriage as a matter of ‘human ecology’
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.