700 POLES IN ROME TO MARK 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF JOHN PAUL’S ELECTION
Pope Francis on Wednesday met some 700 Polish pilgrims from Krakow, who are in Rome to mark the 40th anniversary of the election of St. Pope John Paul II on Oct. 16. He greeted them in the Paul VI Hall before going to St. Peter’s Square for the weekly general audience.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)
St. Pope John Paul II served as the Archbishop of Krakow from 1964 until his election as pope on 16 October, 1978.
Greeting the pilgrims from Krakow who are in Rome to mark the 40th anniversary of the election of John Paul II, Pope Francis expressed admiration for his predecessor’s great abundance of gifts, which he largely inherited from the treasure of faith and holiness of Poland and its Church.
Richness of Polish faith
Mentioning saints from Krakow such as Stanislaus and Queen Hedwig, Albert and Faustina, Pope Francis said Pope John Paul learned from them about the boundless dedication to Christ and the great sensitivity for every man, which, he said, were manifested in his priestly, episcopal and papal ministry.
John Paul II also knew how to read the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel, to make it bear fruit for the benefit of his compatriots who through various painful events of their history never lost their faith in God and were faithful to their culture rooted in the Christian spirit.
Human rights, dignity
Pope Francis said that in his fidelity to his culture and Christian faith, John Paul II sought to “ensure that the Church stood up as the guardian of the inalienable rights of man, of the family and of peoples, in order to be a sign of peace, justice and integral development for the whole human family.”
But at the same time, the Polish pope always underscored the priority of grace and obedience to God’s will, before any human calculation.
This rich heritage of John Paul II, Pope Francis said, is for Christians, especially his compatriots, a challenge to be faithful to Christ and to respond with joyful dedication to God’s call to holiness in the daily specific personal, family and social situation of everyday life.
ABORTION IS “LIKE HIRING A HITMAN TO SOLVE A PROBLEM”
Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Commandments during Wednesday’s general audience saying that welcoming life as God’s gift corrects a vision of life interpreted as a problem to be eliminated.
Francis reflected on the Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill. When life is welcomed as a gift from God, he said, the vision of interpreting life through the lens of eliminating problems can be corrected.
He reaffirmed that the Fifth Commandment is concise and to the point. It is “a defending wall for the foundational value in human relations: the value of life”, he said.
A Gift of God is not a problem
Pope Francis then noted a contradictory approach to life: the suppression of “human life in the mother’s womb in order to safeguard other values”: It is not right to ‘take out’ a human being, no matter how little, to resolve a problem. That is like hiring a hitman to resolve a problem.
Fear is the culprit
Fear leads to violence and rejection, the Pope continued. Welcoming life as a gift of God leads to accepting life in all of its expressions. He noted that parents are in need of true support should they discover that the baby they are expecting will be disabled, saying: “A sick child, …just as an elderly person, needs assistance…. He or she who is presented as a problem is in reality God’s gift who can draw me out of my self-centeredness to make me grow in love.”
God’s love is the measure for life
The world’s idols prompt people to reject life, the Pope said. Pope Francis listed these idols: money, power, and success. He called them “mistaken parameters by which to evaluate life”. Whereas “the only authentic measure for life is love, the love that God has for it!”
Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments, we now consider the injunction against killing. We could say that every evil is caused by a disregard for life. Assaults upon life occur in many situations, from war and exploitation to the suppression of the vulnerable, elderly and unborn. Ultimately it is fear that gives rise to the rejection of life. To welcome the other, however, challenges such fear. We see the attitude that welcomes rather than rejects life in the heart-rending concern of parents for a sick child. Their desire to protect and save is a sign of life’s precious value, seen above all in those who suffer, who are in fact God’s gift, and who help us to grow in his love. God’s love is the only authentic measure of life, whose secret is revealed by Jesus, who embraced the rejected, weak, poor and sick throughout his life and upon the cross. In the midst of our weaknesses, Christ seeks our hearts in order to reveal to us the joy of love. As the Gospel reminds us, “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).
SYNOD FINAL DOCUMENT: FOLLOWING THE FRANCIS LINE?
For weeks here in Rome we have been hearing that the synod’s final document is already “a done deal,” that is, officials in the Roman Curia close to the Pope and Francis himself already knew the direction they wanted the synod to take and have been quietly putting talking points together behind the scenes.
The Instrumentum laboris or working document that came out months ago would be a guideline for synod participants but in reality contained the main points the Pope et al wanted to see in the final synod document submitted by participants that would be sent to the Pope so he could write his exhortation.
In other words, why hold the synod if things were already decided?
The Vatican today released the names of the 12 members of the Commission for the Preparation of the Final Document. They include the Relator General of the 2018 synod, the head of the Synod of Bishops, 2 special secretaries, 3 members named by the Pope and 5 elected by continent.
When I was working at the Vatican I learned that, for the Vatican, there are only 5 continents. I was always taught – and today believe – there are 7 continents: North America, South America Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctic.
In the list of 5 continental commission members, there is Vatican City (Cardinal Turkson is from Africa), Mexico, India, Italy and Australia. Only one has English as his mother tongue, Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne.
Here’s an interesting take on this issue, given the release today of the names of the members of the Commission