FRANCIS EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO PARENTS OF ALFIE EVANS – POPE PRAYS FOR ‘NUCLEAR-FREE’ KOREAN PENINSULA AND FOR NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS – HOLY FATHER, 3 VICTIMS OF SEX ABUSE MEET IN VATICAN – VATICAN OFFICIALS, GERMAN PRELATES TO DISCUSS COMMUNION IN MIXED MARRIAGES

Recent papal tweets:
April 28: I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.

April 29: Do we really want peace? Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war.

April 30: Be one with Christ when you pray, take care of your most vulnerable brothers and sisters, and work for peace.

I am fascinated by the news of the visit by German prelates to officials in the Vatican on the question of whether or not the Eucharist can be given to non-Catholic spouses in a mixed marriage.

I certainly thought I knew the teaching on this question.

In addition to what I had been taught, we have guidelines for the reception of communion in the Missalettes available to the faithful at Mass which basically states: Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to holy Communion. Non-Catholic faithful are then invited, if they wish, to approach the Eucharist with their arms folded over their chest to receive a blessing from the celebrant.

Here is what Canon law says:

For starters, we have Canon 842 §1. A person who has not received baptism cannot be admitted validly to the other sacraments.

And Canon 844:
Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and ⇒ can. 861, §2.
§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.
§3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.
§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.
§5. For the cases mentioned in §§2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.

The German bishops’ decision to offer the Eucharist to the non-Catholic member of a mixed marriage has been inspired by their desire to implement certain provisions of “Amoris Laetitia,” the same document that has caused such angst by suggesting that, under certain circumstances, communion may be given to a couple who, validly married in the Catholic church but civilly divorced (thus, still married for the Church but in an adulterous union) and remarried in a civil ceremony.

The German prelates-Vatican officials meeting will be very interesting to watch.

FRANCIS EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO PARENTS OF ALFIE EVANS

Pope Francis received the news Saturday morning, April 28, of the death of Alfie Evans, and tweeted the following: “I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.”

Pope Francis had been following Alfie with particular attention. He met with Thomas Evans, Alfie’s father, on the 18th of April, and made several appeals on his behalf. He had also expressed the desire that Alfie Evans be brought to the Vatican’s pedriatic hospital, Bambino Gesù, to be cared for.

POPE PRAYS FOR ‘NUCLEAR-FREE’ KOREAN PENINSULA AND FOR NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS

Sunday at the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis hailed the positive outcome of the Inter-Korean Summit and said he is praying for a future of peace for Koreans and for the world. He also mentioned the violence against Catholic communities in Nigeria and prayed for the achievement of harmony and peace there.
By Linda Bordoni (Vaticannews.va)

Calling for continued collaboration between the leaders of North and South Korea, Pope Francis said he is praying that their courageous commitment may achieve “a path of sincere dialogue for a Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons.”

Speaking after the Regina Coeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, the Pope hailed the positive outcome of Friday’s Inter-Korean Summit and said he is praying so that “the hope for a future of peace and more fraternal friendship will not be disappointed, and that collaboration will continue to bear fruit for the beloved Korean people and for the whole world.”

Pope Francis has repeatedly prayed for dialogue and peace between the Koreas and for the historic Summit on Friday in which North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in agreed to work to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

The Pope also turned his attention to and offered his prayers for Christians in Nigeria that, yet again, have come under attack.

“Last week the Christian community of Nigeria was attacked again, and a group of faithful were killed, including two priests,” he said. “I entrust these brothers of ours to the mercy of God, and pray so that those severely tested communities may find harmony and peace.”

Finally, the Pope looked ahead to the Marian month of May inviting all Christians to join him in praying in particular for peace in Syria. He said that Tuesday, May 1, a holiday in the Vatican and Italy, he will make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love where he will pray the Rosary, “praying in particular for peace in Syria and throughout the world.”

HOLY FATHER, 3 VICTIMS OF SEX ABUSE MEET IN VATICAN

Elise Harris/CNA/EWTN News

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis began individual meetings with three survivors of clerical sexual abuse from Chile following a major apology earlier this month. The encounters, which have no time limit, went throughout the weekend and into Monday.

The survivors – Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Andres Murillo – were invited by the Pope to stay at the Vatican’s St. Martha guesthouse, where he has lived since his election in 2013.

In an April 27 statement (in Spanish) from the Vatican, spokesman Greg Burke said there will be no official statements on the encounters, as Francis’ primary intention is “to listen to the victims, ask them for forgiveness and respect the confidentiality of these meetings.”

“In this climate of trust and of reparation for suffering,” Bruke said, “the desire of Pope Francis is to allow those invited to speak for as long as needed, such that there are no fixed schedules or predetermined content.”

Cruz, Hamilton and Murillo were each victims of abuse carried out by Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, who in 2011 was found guilty by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of sexually abusing several minors during the 1980s and 1990s and sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude.

The Pope invited the three men to come to the Vatican after receiving a 2,300-page report from Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who is highly regarded as the Vatican’s top abuse investigator and who traveled to the United States and Chile in February to investigate allegations of cover-up.

To continue reading: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-meets-with-three-survivors-of-clerical-sexual-abuse-from-chile

VATICAN OFFICIALS, GERMAN PRELATES TO DISCUSS COMMUNION IN MIXED MARRIAGES

From the Holy See Press Office – April 30, 2018:

On May 3, a group of German cardinals and bishops will meet in the Vatican with several heads of dicasteries and officials of the Roman Curia to confront the theme of eventual access to the Eucharist for the non-Catholic spouses in a mixed marriage.

The German delegation is composed of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of München und Freising and president of the German Episcopal Conference; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Co of Munster; Bishop KarlHeinz Wiesemann, of Speyer and president of the Doctrinal Commission of the German Episcopal Conference; of Regensburg, Vice President of the Doctrinal Commission; Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg and president of the Commission for Ecumenism of the German Episcopal Conference; Fr. Hans Langendörfer, S.J., secretary general of the German Episcopal Conference.

The dicastery heads and curial officials are: Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF); Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Msgr. Markus Graulich, S.D.B., under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Fr. Hermann Geissler, F.S.O., bureau chief of the doctrinal section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

You may remember my post several days ago, a piece written for the National Catholic Register by my EWTN colleague, Edward Pentin. Here is the first part of that post as background to today’s statement from the press office.

Complete Letter of Seven German Bishops on Holy Communion for Protestant Spouses Published

The Register obtained a copy of the March 22 missive which expresses serious concerns about the recent German bishops’ decision to give Holy Communion to Protestant spouses in some cases. Sources say the seven bishops’ call for clarification, which is being fiercely opposed by the German episcopal conference, has the full support of Benedict XVI.

by Edward Pentin

In the March 22 letter, published for the first time in English below, the seven bishops say they “do not consider” the German bishops’ decision on Feb. 20 to allow Protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion in some cases to be “right” because they do not believe the issue to be a pastoral one but rather a “question of the faith and unity of the Church which is not subject to a vote.”

The letter is signed by Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, Bishop Gregor Hanke of Eichstätt, Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg, Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, and Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau.

The German bishops voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal at their spring plenary meeting in Ingolstadt on Feb. 20, and the letter’s signatories affirm that out of the 60 bishops present, “13 voted no, including at least seven diocesan bishops.”

The majority of German bishops decided that permission could be granted to a Protestant spouse if, after having made a “serious examination” of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibilities, the partner “affirms the faith of the Catholic Church,” wishes to end “serious spiritual distress,” and has a “longing to satisfy a hunger for the Eucharist.”

At the time, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, said the guide would be a “pastoral handout” and that the intention was not to “change any doctrine.” He said the proposal also ruled out any path for Protestant spouses to conversion, otherwise known as an “ecumenism of return.” It also left much discretion to the local bishop.

The proposal caused considerable concern, also in Rome: Cardinals Francis Arinze, Gerhard Müller, Walter Brandmüller, and Paul Cordes all decried the move. Cardinal Müller called the proposal a “rhetorical trick” pulled on believers, most of whom he noted are not theologians and stressed that interdenominational marriage is “not an emergency situation.” Cardinal Brandmüller said the German bishops’ weak opposition to the proposal was a “scandal, no question.”

In their letter, the seven bishops lay out four points calling for clarification: They question whether such a proposal is pastoral matter or one concerning the faith and Church unity; why a person who shares the Catholic faith on the Eucharist should not become Catholic; whether “spiritual distress” is really exceptional or simply part of striving for unity; and if a bishops’ conference should be making such a decision without reference to the universal Church.
They add that they have “many other fundamental questions and reservations” about the proposal and so prefer to seek a solution within the field of ecumenical dialogue which is “viable for the universal Church.”

“We ask for your help, in the light of our doubts, as to whether the draft solution presented in this document is compatible with the faith and unity of the Church,” the bishops say in closing.

The March 22 letter was sent to Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (he was not informed of the Feb. 20 vote either before or after it took place),Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, and the apostolic nuncio to Germany, Archbishop Nikola Eterović.

More here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/full-text-of-seven-german-bishops-letter-on-intercommunion-for-protestant-s

VATICAN INSIDER CELEBRATES FR. LLOYD, 97 AND 70 YEARS A PAULIST – PEACE-BUILDING DESERVES ATTENTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

The Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernadito Auza spoke twice this week at the UN about peace-building and peace-keeping. Here’s a link to the great website of the Holy See Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations: https://holyseemission.org/ Take a trip there some day if you want to understand the Holy See mission and what the Catholic Church’s position is on a myriad of issues.

I expect that soon this Holy See office in New York and/or the press office here in Rome will be making a statement on today’s breakthrough meeting between the two leaders of North and South Korea at the demilitarized zone. This is the meeting for which Pope Francis, at last Wednesday’s general audience, asked for prayers

As I write this column – 4:35 pm local time – there is no Vatican statement on the meeting in Korea.

VATICAN INSIDER CELEBRATES FR. LLOYD, 97 AND 70 YEARS A PAULIST

Join me this weekend on “Vatican Insider” for Part II of my conversation with Paulist Father Jim Lloyd. We had a great visit over the Easter holidays at the Paulist Motherhouse in NY where I was a guest for a few days. He had just turned 97 and on May 1st he will celebrate his 70th anniversary as a priest!!

The Paulists, of course, have been in Rome since 1922 when they were asked to care for the Catholic American community in the Eternal City. Our home now is St. Patrick’s Church on Via Boncompagni in central Rome.

Fr. Jim began our conversation by telling me about his amazing parents – his Jewish father and Irish Catholic mother, both of whom starred for years in Vaudeville! We cover his multi-faceted and very rich priestly life and ministries and this week talk about his NBC TV show “Inquiry” – and so much more! You will be riveted by every facet of his life! Not a dull second in our conversation!

As I said last week, I only wish that Vatican Insider was TV instead of radio so you could see Father Jim’s sparkling blue eyes and feel his enthusiasm and joy when he talks about the amazing, different periods in his life as a priest. One thing you will hear him says several times is that, no matter what he was doing, he always wore his Roman collar so people would know he was a priest.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. 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 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

PEACE-BUILDING DESERVES ATTENTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

The Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations spoke at two high level UN meetings in New York calling on them to increase peace-building efforts and to seek peace in Syria.

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

The Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, addressed participants in the High-Level Meeting on Peace-building and Sustaining Peace at the United Nations headquarters in New York, which took place on April 24-25, 2018. Archbishop Auza presented five priorities on behalf of the Holy See. (photo vaticanmedia)

Increase peace-building efforts

The Archbishop stated that the United Nations “can and should recommit itself to, and scale up, its peace-building efforts.” Unified and broad action, effective transitional strategies, analysis, better and more coherent synergy, and constant adjustment were among his recommendations.

Preventive diplomacy

Identifying beforehand the presence of factors, such as corruption, that destabilize nations would lead toward preventive diplomacy. Where potential conflicts are foreseen, “the international community should focus on institutional and capacity building,” the archbishop said.

Address arms trafficking

Archbishop Auza called the end of both the trafficking of arms and the illicit funding behind it to be “essential elements to sustaining peace.” He added that former combatants can be invited to “become a part of a peaceful solution” through “demobilization and reintegration” strategies.

Involving all sectors of society

Lasting peace can only be attained when all sectors of society are involved. The Holy See representative specifically mentioned women, saying they “must play an active role” along the entire spectrum of conflict prevention and resolution.

Justice and accountability

Unless justice and accountability are “seriously addressed,” successful transition from conflict to peace is not attainable. “Justice and legal accountability are essential vectors of reconciliation, not its opposite,” Archbishop Auza said. In the absence of prosecution and punishment at the local level, he said that, “the International Criminal Court must play its full role.”

Conflicts in the Middle East

In a separate address to the Security Council Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East on April 26, Archbishop Auza addressed the ongoing conflicts in that region.

Syria
Archbishop Auza reiterated Pope Francis’ appeal to negotiation in Syria as the only way “that can bring about peace and not death and destruction.” It is the UN Security Council, he said, that is the “key actor” ensuring that all efforts to end the conflict in Syria are guided by international law.

Yemen
He concurred with the Secretary General’s definition of the war in Yemen as a “stupid war,” calling it the world’s largest humanitarian, entirely man-made catastrophe. He called on the international community to “give much greater attention to this conflict, where civilians are paying a huge price in a senseless war that has been overshadowed by other conflicts in the region.”

Israel and Palestine
Calling for “a renewed commitment” for completely violence-free peace talks leading toward a Two-State solution, the archbishop reiterated the Holy See’s position. He stated that it is the only “viable way of fulfilling the aspirations for peaceful co-existence among Israelis and Palestinians alike.” Regarding Jerusalem, he stated that the Holy See sees it as an “obligation of all Nations to respect the historical status quo of the Holy City.”

VATICAN’S FINANCIAL INFORMATION AUTHORITY PUBLISHES ANNUAL REPORT

VATICAN’S FINANCIAL INFORMATION AUTHORITY PUBLISHES ANNUAL REPORT

At 11.00 this morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held for the presentation of the Annual Report of the Financial Information Authority (Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria – AIF) of the Holy See and Vatican City State on the activity of supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism as well as prudential supervision.

Presenters included René Brülhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza, respectively president and director of the AIF.

Here is the press release/annual Report furnished by AIF for the year 2017:

AIF press release | Annual Report 2017
Robust reporting system and effective regulatory framework

The Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) of the Holy See and the Vatican City State has presented its Annual Report for 2017. The report reviews the activities and statistics of AIF for the year 2017.

2017 confirmed robust reporting system and an effective application of the regulatory framework of the Holy See and the Vatican City State. Furthermore, AIF continued its pro-active approach to cooperate and exchange of information with its foreign counterparts to fight illicit financial activities.

“2017 has been a year of consolidation and normalization of our institutional activities”, said René Brülhart, President of AIF. “Consolidation of the measures taken to establish an effective regulatory framework and its full and sustainable implementation. Normalization of the reporting system, which is considered to be robust.”

The system has seen a progressive decline in the number of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). In 2017, 150 Suspicious Activity Reports were filed with AIF in comparison to the previous year with 207 SARs. “Such tendency is positive because in parallel the quality of the reports increased, showing a growing awareness and strengthening of the control functions of the reporting subjects”, said Tommaso Di Ruzza, Director of AIF.

In 2017, 8 reports were submitted to the Vatican Office of the Promoter of Justice for further investigation by the competent law enforcement authorities. “Considering the uniqueness of the jurisdiction, international cooperation is a key element of the activity of AIF”, reported Di Ruzza, indicating that “In 2017, AIF signed 19 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with its counterparts in foreign jurisdictions and exchanged information in 268 cases”.

Furthermore, the regulatory framework has been further strengthened, in particular with the introduction of Regulation no. 2, which sets the rules in regard of the data and information accompanying transfers of funds and the technical requirement for credit transfers and direct debits in Euro.

About AIF

The Financial Information Authority is the competent authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State for supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism as well as prudential supervision.

Established by Pope Benedict XVI with the Apostolic Letter in form of Motu Proprio of 30 December 2010, AIF carries out its institutional activities in accordance with its new Statute introduced by Pope Francis with a Motu Proprio of 15 November 2013 and Law No. XVIII of 8 October 2013.

AIF has signed MOUs with supervisory Authorities and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hungary, India, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan (Republic of China), United Kingdom and the United States of America.

AIF has been a member of the Egmont Group since 2013.

KOREA’S RELIGIOUS LEADERS APPEAL FOR PEACE AHEAD OF SUMMIT

This story is about the Korean summit tomorrow, Friday, April 27 that Pope Francis asked us to pray for yesterday –

KOREA’S RELIGIOUS LEADERS APPEAL FOR PEACE AHEAD OF SUMMIT

The Korean Conference of Religions for Peace has called on other governments to support the move for reconciliation on the divided peninsula
By Philippa Hitchen (vaticannews)

Religious leaders in Korea have appealed to the United States. China, Russia and Japan to support this week’s summit between Seoul and Pyongyang.

In a statement, the Korean Conference of Religions for Peace (KCRP), supported by Archbishop Kim Hee-joong, president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, said the country “is longing for” the arrival of a “springtime of peace”.

Ahead of Friday’s meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in, the statement recalls that the division between the two parts of the peninsula is the last barrier left by the Cold War. (vaticannews photo)

Pursue dialogue and understanding

The religious leaders call on the governments of the north and south to fulfil their obligations to pursue dialogue and mutual understanding. The statement urges the North Korean leadership to take advantage of the opportunity to “break the chains that have bound and limited this land for over seventy years”.

They also appeal to all political leaders involved in the rapprochement process to back these efforts at reconciliation, adding that “the United States is a key country for bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula”. They call on the U.S., China, Russia and Japan to support the summit, as well as a planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader next month.

Pope prays for reconciliation

On Wednesday Pope Francis also prayed for a successful outcome of this week’s encounter, describing it as an opportunity for “transparent dialogue and a concrete path to reconciliation” in order to guarantee peace on the peninsula and throughout the world.

Speaking at his general audience in St Peter’s Square, the Pope assured the people of Korea of his prayers, adding that the Holy See “accompanies, supports and encourages every useful and sincere initiative” to build peace and friendship between peoples. He urged all political leaders to have “the courage of hope” and to become builders of peace.

Meeting in Demilitarized Zone

Kim Jong-un is due to meet Moon Jae-in at 9.30 in the morning local time (just after midnight GMT), marking the first time a north Korean leader has crossed the military demarcation line since the end of the Korean war over 60 years ago.

The two will meet in the Demilitarized Zone between their two countries, which are still technically at war since a peace treaty was never signed when the war ended in 1953.

NEVER A DULL MOMENT IN THE VATICAN

NEVER A DULL MOMENT IN THE VATICAN

So many conferences and meetings and congresses:

JUST ENDED:   The World Union of Catholic Teachers: http://www.laityfamilylife.va/content/laityfamilylife/en/sezione-laici/repertorio/unione-mondiale-degli-insegnanti-cattolici-.html

JUST STARTED:   World Congress on Global Catholic Education at the Rome Notre Dame Center, organized by ND and by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences – https://international.nd.edu/events/2018/04/27/interactive-forum-on-international-education/

ABOUT TO START:   Fourth International Vatican Conference Vatican City – April 26-28, 2018 – “How Science, Technology and 21st Century Medicine Will Impact Culture and Society” http://vaticanconference2018.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Fourth-International-Vatican-Conference-Agenda.pdf

PAPAL CATECHESIS ON BAPTISM, STRENGTH AGAINST EVIL – HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE COMMUNIQUES

Today, April 25, is Liberation Day, a national holiday in Italy that marks the fall of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic and the end of the Nazi occupation in Italy in 1945, towards the end of the Second World War. I always know when it’s a holiday in Rome – even without a calendar – because of the extreme quiet in the neighborhood. Many stores are closed and there’s little traffic and hardly any movement or noise on the streets adjacent to my building, just across from Vatican City. I don’t know what it’s like in the center of Rome or around historic monuments but I know I’m loving the peace and quiet!

On another topic: We all have interests and passions and hobbies, whether in the fields of sports, handicrafts, the arts, travel, languages, libraries, cuisine, or merely collecting items – stamps, coins, dolls or, as I do, plates and bells. When it comes to my interest in languages and travel and history, I think you know of my passion for the Middle East and the Holy Land, for the story of the Catholic Church, for the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, in that part of the world.

If you have a similar interest, I’d like to point you to an excellent site for news from and about that region: http://en.abouna.org/en/world

Fr. Rifat Bader, a friend of mine from Jordan, began this site years ago. He also launched CCSM – the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan – on April 25, 2012 to serve as a media arm for the Latin Patriarchate. By the way, the word “abouna” in the website means “father.” Happy anniversary, Abouna Rifat and CCSM!

Father Rifat and I met over the years in his native Jordan, in both Cyprus and Lebanon during trips by Pope Benedict, in the Holy Land for Francis’ three-day trip in 2014 and a number of times here in Rome. When it was just a seed, the CCSM was the subject of many of our conversations and emails and I am delighted to follow its success.

Another fascinating link: You can access the annual magazine of the Grand Magisterium of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, “Jerusalem Cross” here: http://www.oessh.va/content/ordineequestresantosepolcro/en/media/le-nostre-pubblicazioni/la-croce-di-gerusalemme-2017.html

PAPAL CATECHESIS ON BAPTISM, STRENGTH AGAINST EVIL

Pope Francis bases his General Audience catechesis on Philippians 4:12-13: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me”. Through our Baptismal anointing we receive the strength needed for the spiritual struggle.

By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews)

Pope Francis continued reflecting on the Sacrament of Baptism during the catechesis portion of the Wednesday General Audience. He focused on the anointing with the oil of catechumens that is part of the Rite of Baptism.

Faith is a response to the Gospel

Those who request Baptism have responded to the Gospel that has prompted them to believe, the Pope said. They have learned how to listen to Jesus’ teaching and works. They experience the thirst of the Samaritan woman. Their eyes are opened like the blind man. They come forth from the dead like Lazarus.

Not alone

Those who approach the baptismal font are accompanied by the entire Church. This is concretely expressed with the Litany of the Saints before the exorcism and anointing with the oil of catechumens at the beginning of the Rite of Baptism. “They are gestures that, since ancient times, assure those who are preparing to be reborn as children of God that the prayer of the Church assists them in the fight against evil”, Pope Francis said.

Strength against evil

Pope Francis reminded those present that Jesus “fought against and cast out demons to manifest that the kingdom of God had come” (cf Mt 12:28). His victory over evil is a clear sign of his lordship. Through Baptism, which is not magic but a “gift of the Holy Spirit”, Jesus gives us the ability “to fight against the spirit of evil”. Pope Francis cited the Baptismal Rite: “God sent his Son into the world to destroy the power of satan and to transfer man from darkness to the kingdom of infinite light”.

Anointing with oil

The Baptismal candidates receive a second anointing on their chest. Pope Francis explained that long ago, “fighters would cover themselves with oil in order to tone their muscles and in order to more easily escape their enemy’s grasp”. Unpacking this sacramental sign, Pope Francis concluded his catechesis saying that the Christian life is one long, tiring struggle against evil. But we are accompanied by “Mother Church who prayers that her children, regenerated by Baptism, might not succumb to the snares of the evil one, but might conquer by the power of Christ’s Passover.” Therefore, “we too can repeat with the faith of St Paul: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

At the end of the audience, Francis made the following appeal:

Next Friday, April 27 in Panmunjom, an inter-Korean summit will be held in which the leaders of the two Koreas – Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un – will take part. Such an encounter will be a good occasion to start a transparent dialogue and a concrete path of reconciliation and rediscovered fraternity with the goal of guaranteeing peace on the Korean peninsula and in the entire world.

I assure the Korean people, who so ardently desire peace, of my personal prayer and the closeness of the entire Church. The Holy See accompanies, supports and encourages every useful and sincere initiative to build a better future, as the sign of an encounter and friendship among people.

I ask those responsible for direct political talks to have the courage of hope, to make yourselves artisans of peace while I also exhort you to pursue with trust the path undertaken for the common good.

As God is the Father of all and the Father of peace, I invite you to pray the Our Father, God, Father of all, for the Korean people, those in the South and those in the North.

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE COMMUNIQUES

I. Next July 7, Pope Francis will travel to Bari (on Italy’s Adriatic coast), window to the East that is the guardian of the the relics of St. Nicholas, for a day of reflection on and prayer for the dramatic situation in the Middle East that afflicts so many of our brothers and sisters in the faith. He intends to invite to this ecumenical encounter for peace the Heads of Churches and Christian communities in that region. As of now, Pope Franccis exhorts all to prepare for this event with prayer.

II. POPE TO RECEIVE CHILEAN ABUSE VICTIMS THIS WEEKEND

(I published this earlier this morning as a separate column) – In response to questions by journalists about an encounter of the Holy Father Francis with several victims of abuse in Chile, Holy See press office director Greg Burke this morning declared the following:

“This coming weekend the Holy Father will receive at the Santa Marta residence three victims of abuse committed by clergy in Chile; respectively Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andres Murillo.

The Pope thanks them for having accepted his invitation. During these days of personal and fraternal encounter he wants to ask pardon of them and to share their pain and his shame for what they have suffered, and above all listen to all their suggestions with the scope of avoiding that such terrible facts repeat themselves.

The Pope will receive victims individually, allowing each one to speak for all the time they need.

The Holy Father asks for prayers for the church in Chile in this very sad moment, expressing the hope that these encounters can take place in a climate of serene trust and that they might be a fundamental step to remedy and to avoid for all time abuses of conscience, power and, in particular, sexual abuse in the heart of the Church.”

POPE TO RECEIVE CHILEAN ABUSE VICTIMS THIS WEEKEND

POPE TO RECEIVE CHILEAN ABUSE VICTIMS THIS WEEKEND

In response to questions by journalists about an encounter of the Holy Father Francis with several victims of abuse in Chile, Holy See press office director Greg Burke this morning declared the following:

“This coming weekend the Holy Father will receive at the Santa Marta residence three victims of abuse committed by clergy in Chile; respectively Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andres Murillo.

The Pope thanks them for having accepted his invitation. During these days of personal and fraternal encounter he wants to ask pardon of them and to share their pain and His shame for what they have suffered, and above all listen to all their suggestions with the scope of avoiding that such terrible facts repeat themselves.

The Pope will receive victims individually, allowing each one to speak for all the time they need.

The Holy Father asks for prayers for the church in Chile in this very sad moment, expressing the hope that these encounters can take place in a climate of serene trust and that they might be a fundamental step to remedy and to avoid for all time abuses of conscience, power and, in particular, sexual abuse in the heart of the Church.”