POPE GIVES FINAL CATECHESIS ON MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY, ASKS FOR PRAYERS FOR APOSTOLIC TRIP
We are just days away from Pope Francis’ departure for Cuba and the United States on what will be his 10th foreign trip and his longest apostolic trip to date. Remarkably, at the age of 78, this marks his first ever visit to both countries. He was in Cuba only once before but, as he said in a recent interview, it was only a stopover in the Havana airport.
The Holy Father Wednesday at the general audience spoke about his impending trip, saying, “it is a mission to which I am going with great hope. The principle reason for the voyage is the Eighth World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Philadelphia. I will also be going to the central headquarters of the United Nations on the 70th anniversary of its institution. I greet the Cuban and the American people who, guided by their Pastors, have prepared themselves spiritually for the visit.” He invoked the “light and strength of the Holy Spirit, and the intercession of Mary Most Holy, the Patroness of Cuba under the title of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, and the Patroness of America under the title of the Immaculate Conception.” (photo news.va)
The Holy Father opened the general audience by noting that, “today we conclude our series of catecheses on marriage and the family.” He began the lengthy series on the family on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, shortly after the October extraordinary synod on the family and ends it now, just weeks before the 2015 ordinary synod on the family.
Pope Francis mentioned two significant international events during today’s catechesis: the World Meeting of Families next week in Philadelphia, and the Synod of Bishops here in Rome. “Both have a global reach, which corresponds both to the universal dimension of Christianity and to the universal scope of the fundamental and indispensable human community of the family.”
“In these past months,” he said, “guided by God’s Word, we have reflected on the perennial value of the covenant between man and woman for the future of the entire human family. In the Creator’s plan, marriage and the family have an essential role in shaping an ever more humane political, economic and social life. This role is all the more critical today, in a society increasingly subject to technology and to forms of economic colonization which subordinate ethics to profits. From the beginning, God entrusted His creation to man and woman.”
“A new alliance of man and woman would seem not only necessary,” said the Pope, “but also strategic for the emancipation of peoples from their colonisation by money. This alliance must once again guide politics, the economy and civil coexistence. It decides the habitability of the earth, the transmission of the sentiment of life, and the bonds of memory and hope.”
“Of this alliance, the matrimonial-familiar community of man and woman is its generative grammar, its ‘golden bond’, so to speak. Faith draws upon knowledge of God’s creation: He entrusted to the family not only the care of intimacy for its own sake, but also the project of making the entire world domestic. It is precisely the family that is at the origin and the base of this worldwide culture that saves us: it saves us from many attacks, many forms of destruction, and many forms of colonisation, for instance by money and ideologies, that so threaten the world. The family is a base from which we defend ourselves.”
Pope Francis concluded: “The promise God makes to man and woman, at the origin of history, includes all human beings, up to the end of history. If we have enough faith, the families of the peoples of the world will recognize themselves in this blessing. In any case, may whoever allows him- or herself to be moved by this vision, regardless of the people, nation, or religion to which he or she belongs, walk with us and become our brother or sister, without proselytism. Let us walk together under this blessing and with God’s aim to make us all brothers and sisters in life in a world that goes ahead and that is born precisely of the family, the union of man and woman.”
PAPAL ADVISORS LOOK AT CREATING NEW CONGREGATIONS
(Vatican Radio) During a press briefing this morning, Fr. Federico, Lombardi, SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office presented the following summary of the 11th Meeting of the Council of Cardinals – the so-called C9 – with the Holy Father. The meeting took place from Monday to Wednesday of this week. The proposal for a new Congregation, provisionally entitled “Laity, Family and Life,” was again taken into consideration. In this regard Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, designated by the Holy Father in recent months to prepare a study on the feasibility of the project, was heard. At the end of their reflections the Council presented to the Pope a proposal orientated towards the implementation of the project.
Consideration of the proposal for a second new Congregation dedicated to “Charity, Justice and Peace” was resumed and further reflections were made without yet reaching, however, a conclusive proposal by the Council.
The cardinals went on to reflect on the procedures for the appointment of new bishops, specifically on the qualities and requisites for candidates in view of the needs of today’s world, and on the related issue of information gathering. Naturally the theme will need to be explored further and developed in collaboration with the competent dicasteries concerned.
Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the new Secretariat for Communication reported to the Council on the first steps taken so far and in particular on the appointment of a group to draw up the statutes for the new dicastery. The working group has been constituted and has already commenced activity. It is made up of representatives of the institutes variously involved. The statutes, while taking into account the progressive phase of consolidating the different entities that will form the Secretariat, defines the structure of the dicastery as “definitive,” Particular attention will be given to evaluating legal and administrative aspects of the communication activities of the Holy See. The regulations will subsequently be drafted and issued.
The cardinal advisors expressed their unanimous appreciation and stressed that, despite the progressive nature of the work, precise guidance must be given to the institutions involved so that, as the Motu Proprio requires, the reform can make decisive progress towards integration and unitary management.
The theme proposed during the last session of the C9 regarding issues linked to the abuse of minors was again taken into consideration. The matter of how to implement proposals was explored in further depth, especially with regard to the possibility of accelerating the resolution of the many cases still pending.
A draft Preamble of the new Constitution was also re-evaluated. Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga was absent for health reasons. The next session of the Council is scheduled to be held from December 10 to 12.
POPE FRANCIS AND MOSES IN THE U.S. CONGRESS
Father Federico Lombardi, at a briefing yesterday for the media on Pope Francis’ trip to Cuba and the United States, at one point made a comment about an email he received from a journalist who wrote that when Pope Francis addresses a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber next week, he will be facing a portrait of Moses.
I found that rather curious so explored the matter further and found an extemely interesting website about the Architect of the Capitol (http://www.aoc.gov/facts/capitol-hill#question-531) and the 23 relief portrait plaques found in the Chamber of the House of Representatives. Here is what I learned:
The 23 marble relief portraits over the gallery doors of the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol depict historical figures noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law. They were installed when the chamber was remodeled in 1949-1950.
Created in bas relief of white Vermont marble by seven different sculptors, the plaques each measure 28 inches in diameter. The 11 profiles in the eastern half of the chamber face left and the 11 in the western half face right, so that all look towards the full-face relief of Moses in the center of the north wall.
The subjects of the reliefs were chosen by scholars from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia Historical Society of Washington, D.C., in consultation with authoritative staff members of the Library of Congress. The selection was approved by a special committee of five Members of the House of Representatives and the Architect of the Capitol.
The plaster models for these reliefs are on display on the walls in the Rayburn House Office Building subway terminal.
The 23 Relief Portraits: You will note that 22 are in profile, 11 looking east and 11 looking west, while Moses looks on, full face. The historical lawgivers depicted in these portraits are George Mason, Robert Joseph Pothier, Jean Baptiste Colbert, Edward I, Alfonso X, Gregory IX, Saint Louis, Justinian I, Tribonian, Lycurgus Hammurabi, Moses, Solon, Papinian, Gaius, Maimonides, Suleiman, Innocent III, Simon de Montfort, Hugo Grotius, Sir William Blackstone, Napoleon I, and Thomas Jefferson. (not all 23 are in this photo I took from the website of the Architect of the Capitol. How many of the names do you know? I could not identify some of these lawmakers):