POPE: ST. TERESA OF ÁVILA SHOWS IMPORTANCE OF WOMEN IN CHURCH AND SOCIETY – 35 YEARS AGO, POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II’S HISTORIC VISIT TO ROME SYNAGOGUE – SWISS GUARD SWEARING-IN CEREMONY TO FOLLOW COVID RESTRICTIONS

POPE: ST. TERESA OF ÁVILA SHOWS IMPORTANCE OF WOMEN IN CHURCH AND SOCIETY

Pope Francis marks the 50th anniversary in 2020 of the proclamation of Saint Teresa of Ávila as a Doctor of the Church, and stresses her importance even today, especially in highlighting the role of women in the Church and in society.

By Vatican News staff writer

Opening his message to Archbishop Gil Tamayo of Ávila, Spain, Pope Francis noted that St. Teresa was the first woman to become a Doctor of the Church. He said the title was a recognition of the “precious teaching that God has transmitted to us through her writings and the testimony of her life.”  (Vatican media)

Fifty years ago, on 27 September 1970, Pope St Paul VI conferred the title of Doctor of the Church on St. Teresa of Ávila.

The Catholic University of Ávila, which is dedicated to the Spanish mystic, is celebrating this historic anniversary with an international congress entitled “Exceptional woman,” as Pope Paul VI described her himself. It runs until 15 April.

Courageous witness, able to break down walls

Saint Teresa was born in 1515 and died in 1582. Pope Francis wrote in his message that even now, nearly half a millenium since her death, “the flame that Jesus lit in Teresa continues to shine in this world, always in need of courageous witnesses, capable of breaking down any wall, whether physical, existential or cultural.”

He also cited her intelligence and tenacity, which she joined to “a sensitivity to beauty and a spiritual motherhood toward all those who approached her work.”

The Pope added that she was an example of the “extraordinary role that women have played throughout history in the Church and in society.”

A message for those seeking purification

Saint Teresa of Ávila still speaks to us today, thanks to her writings.

Pope Francis noted that her message and example are for everyone, “for those who feel the call to religious life,” but also “for all those who wish to progress on the path of purification from all worldliness, which leads to union with God, to the lofty abodes of the interior castle.”

“Having her as a friend companion and guide in our earthly pilgrimage confers security and tranquillity,” he said.

The Pope concluded his message by recalling Teresa’s great devotion to St. Joseph and by encouraging all the faithful to continue to look deeper into her message and teachings.

35 YEARS AGO, POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II’S HISTORIC VISIT TO ROME SYNAGOGUE

Pope St. John Paul II’s historic visit to Rome’s Synagogue 35 years ago marked a new chapter in Catholic-Jewish relations.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

The date of 13 April 1986 is etched in history as the day of the first-ever recorded papal visit to a synagogue. It was a rainy spring afternoon when Pope St. John Paul crossed the River Tiber to pay his respects to the community of Rome’s imposing Victorian Synagogue, believed to be home to the oldest Jewish community in the West.

Thousands of Romans gathered to cheer, and the international press corps was present in force to capture the moment widely seen as a gesture destined to go down in history. (vatican media)

”The heart opens itself,” Rabbi Elio Toaff declared, and the two leaders embraced and entered the synagogue together to the ovation of the 1,000-strong congregation.

In a service that emphasized the equal dignity of the two faiths, the two men sat on identical gilt and brocade thrones and took turns reading from the Book of Psalms. The Pope even read one in Hebrew.

He quoted extensively from the Declaration Nostra Aetate, proclaimed by Pope Paul VI in 1965 and dedicated to the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions, and which rejects a longstanding belief that held Jews responsible for Christ’s death.

“Elder brothers”

”The Jewish religion is not ‘extrinsic’ to us, but in a certain way is ‘intrinsic’ to our own religion,” he said. “With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.”

Condemation of anti-Semitism

”Once again, through myself,” St. John Paul II said, “!the Church, deplores the hatred, persecutions, and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews any time and by anyone, I repeat, by anyone.”

The Polish Pope went on to recall his 1979 visit to Auschwitz, upholding the memory of “the people whose sons and daughters were destined to total extermination.’”

And speaking just meters away from a plaque outside the synagogue dedicated to the memory of 2,091 Roman Jews deported by the Nazis, he said: “The Jewish community of Rome, too, paid a high price in blood.”

Separate identities

In his concise but complex discourse the Pope also gave voice to yet another perspective of Catholic Jewish relations when he declared that “each of our religions’” wishes ”to be recognized and respected in its own identity,” beyond ”any ambiguous appropriation.”

In his footsteps

Both Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, and Pope Francis in 2016, have followed in his footsteps and visited Rome’s Synagogue, reiterating their respect and their friendship to Jews or, as Pope St. John Paul II described them, “our elder brothers.”

SWISS GUARD SWEARING-IN CEREMONY TO FOLLOW COVID RESTICTIONS

A press release today from the Pontifical Swiss Guards notes that the annual May 6 swearing-in ceremony of new guards will take place as usual thid year but will follow all necessary protocols set in place by the Covid pandemic.

The 34 new guards will take their solemn oath as usual on May 6, 2021 in front of their parents, brothers and sisters. In addition, some representatives of the Swiss Confederation, the Swiss Army and the Swiss Episcopal Conference, as well as several members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard Foundation, will take part. Outside guests will therefore not be allowed to attend the ceremonies. The guards, however, ensure live broadcasting during Mass in the morning and the afternoon swearing-in ceremony.