I got a big kick today out of the fact that Pope Francis, in his Message for the 50th World Day of Social Communications, as his very first quote about communications and mercy, cited Shakespeare’s words from The Merchant of Venice: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”
This brought a smile to my face because the opening quote in my book, A Holy Year in Rome, is the entire quote from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice!
This was the very first quote that came to mind on March 13 of last year when I heard Pope Francis announce he was calling for a Jubilee of Mercy!
VATICAN INSIDER: MSGR JOHN KOZAR AND CNEWA
Please join me for Part II of my conversation with Msgr. John Kozar, president of CNEWA, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association for almost five years now. He came to that post after serving as national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. He was in Rome for a series of meetings and found time to be my guest on Vatican Insider. We learn what CNEWA is and does, where it works and we talk about current and future projects.
As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=
MARRIAGE, A REALITY FOR ALL, NOT AN “IDEAL FOR THE FEW”
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday said the Church’s teaching on marriage is not an “ideal for the few” but “a reality that, in the grace of Christ, can be experienced by all the baptized.”
The Holy Father was speaking the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, the Vatican court which mainly deals with marriage annulment cases.
In his address inaugurating the judicial year, Pope Francis said the court’s role as Tribunal of the Family, and its role as Tribunal of the Truth of the Sacred Bond are complementary.
“The Church… can show the unfailing merciful love of God to families – especially those wounded by sin and the trials of life – and, at the same time, proclaim the essential truth of marriage according to God’s design,” Pope Francis said.
“When the Church, through your service, sets about to declare the truth about marriage in a concrete case, for the good of the faithful, at the same time you must always remember that those who, by choice or unhappy circumstances of life, are living in an objective state of error, continue to be the object of the merciful love of Christ and thus the Church herself,” he continued.
The Holy Father pointed out the recent two-year Synod process on the family said to the world that “there can be no confusion” between the family as willed by God, and every other type of union.
Reaffirming the doctrine of the Church, the Holy Father said the “quality of faith” is not an essential condition of marital consent, and pointed out the faith infused at baptism continues to have influence on the soul even “when it has not been developed and even seems to be psychologically absent.”
He added it is not uncommon for couples to discover “the fullness of God’s plan” for marriage after their wedding, when they have begun to experience family life.
“Therefore,” concluded Francis, “the Church, with a renewed sense of responsibility, continues to propose marriage in its essentials – offspring, good of the couple, unity, indissolubility, sacramentality – not as ideal only for a few – notwithstanding modern models centered on the ephemeral and the transient – but as a reality that, in the grace of Christ, can be experienced by all the baptized faithful.”
COMMUNICATION AND MERCY: A FRUITFUL ENCOUNTER
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ message for the 50th World Day of Social Communications was released at a press conference in the Vatican on Friday. The message, entitled ‘Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter’ is focused on the responsibility of all communicators to promote caring and healthy relationships in our fragmented and polarized world.
Quoting from Shakespeare, the Gospels and the Old Testament, the Pope reminds us that, as Christians, our “every word and gesture, ought to express God’s compassion, tenderness and forgiveness for all”. If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity and divine love, he says, then our communication will be touched by God’s power too.
As sons and daughters of God, the message stresses, we are called to communicate with everyone, without exception. Communication, the Pope insists, has the power to build bridges, to enable encounter and inclusion, to heal wounded memories and thus to enrich society. In both the material and the digital world, he says, our words and actions should help us all “escape the vicious circles of condemnation and vengeance which continue to ensnare individuals and nations, encouraging expressions of hatred”.
Pope Francis invites all people of good will to rediscover the power of mercy to heal wounded relationships and to restore peace and harmony to families and communities. Even when ancient wounds and lingering resentments stand in the way of communication and reconciliation, he says, mercy is able to create a new kind of speech and dialogue.
Our political and diplomatic language in particular, the Pope says, would do well to be inspired by mercy, which never loses hope He appeals to political and institutional leaders, as well as the media and opinion makers to remain especially attentive to the way they speak of those who think or act differently. Even when condemning sins such as violence, corruption and exploitation, the Pope says, we must speak with meekness and mercy that can touch hearts, rather than with harsh, moralistic words that can further alienate those we wish to convert.
True communication, the Pope says, means listening, valuing, respecting and being able to share questions and doubts. Online or in social networks, he stresses, we must remember that it’s not technology which guarantees authentic communication, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal.
The Pope concludes by encouraging everyone “to see society not as a forum where strangers compete and try to come out on top, but above all as a home or a family, where the door is always open and where everyone feels welcome”.
For complete Message, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/popes-message-communication-and-mercy-a-fruitful-e