VATICAN INSIDER PROFILES THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS – SPORTS, GIVING THE BEST OF YOURSELF

VATICAN INSIDER PROFILES THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS

On this first weekend of June, Vatican Insider, in place of an interview, will feature a Special I have prepared on the College of Cardinals, given that the universal church will be welcoming new cardinals into the College on Thursday, June 28. I look at the history of the college, its make up, the duties of the college and individual cardinals and so on. (photo TheJournal.ie)

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=

SPORTS, GIVING THE BEST OF YOURSELF

This morning at the Holy See Press Office, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life presented its latest document entitled “Giving the Best of Yourself.” In addition to this document on sports, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ Letter to Cardinal Farrell, prefect of this dicastery, upon publication of the document.

The Holy Father wrote that, “Sports is a meeting place where people of all levels and social conditions come together to reach a common aim. In a culture dominated by individualism and the gap between the younger generations and the elderly, sports is a privileged area around which people meet without any distinction of race, sex, religion, or ideology, and where we can experience the joy of competing to reach a goal together, participating in a team, where success or defeat is shared and overcome; this helps us to reject the idea of conquering an objective by focusing only on ourselves.”

He also noted that “Sports is also a formative vehicle. Perhaps today more than ever, we must fix our gaze on the young, because the earlier the process of formation begins, the easier the person’s integral development through sports will be. We know how the new generations look at sportsmen and are inspired by them! The participation of all athletes of every age and level is, therefore, necessary; because those who are part of the sports world exemplify virtues such as generosity, humility, sacrifice, constancy, and cheerfulness.”

In conclusion Francis wrote, “I would like to emphasize the role of sports as a means for the mission and sanctification. The Church is called to be a sign of Jesus Christ in the world, also through the sports practiced in oratories, parishes, schools, and associations.”

“Giving the Best of Yourself” has 5 chapters. The first chapter explains the reasons for the Church’s interest in sport and the need for a pastoral approach to sport- In the second chapter, the document outlines the salient features of sport as a phenomenon and its contextualization in current society.

In chapter three, the theme of the meaning of sport for the person is explored. The fourth chapter is dedicated to open challenges, to the desire to contribute through sport to the promotion of authentic values that may provide to any sportsperson a patrimony to confront the many dangers that modern sport often has to face, such as doping, corruption and violent fans. The fifth and final chapter is dedicated to the role of the Church as a protagonist in this path of humanization through sport.

For further information and to download the digital document, please consult: http://www.laityfamilylife.va

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POPE TO CREATE 14 NEW CARDINALS ON JUNE 29 – PAPAL APPEALS FOR PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST, VENEZUELA

POPE TO CREATE 14 NEW CARDINALS ON JUNE 29

After praying the Regina Coeli with an estimated 30,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis announced he would create new cardinals at a consistory on June 29, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.

The Holy Father said the places from which the new cardinals come “express the universality of the Church, which continues to announce the merciful love of God to all men and women on earth.”

As of Friday, there were 213 members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 115 are cardinal electors, that is, under the age of 80 and eligible to participate in a conclave. The ceiling set by Blessed Paul VI for the number of cardinal electors is 120. The 11 new cardinals under 80 will bring that number to 126 on June 29.


Universality of Church

(by Vaticannews.va)

The men who will receive their red hats from the Pope include bishops from Iraq, Pakistan, Portugal, Peru, Madagascar, Italy and Japan. The list also includes Polish archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who serves as the papal almoner, Italian archbishops Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of the Rome diocese, Giovanni Becciu, the Substitute of the Secretary of State and Special Delegate for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and Giuseppe Petrocchi of L’Aquila. He also named Spanish Jesuit Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Pope Francis said their nominations “manifest the unbreakable bond between the See of Peter and the local Churches throughout the world.”

Pope Francis also nominated to the College of Cardinals a retired archbishop of Mexico, a retired bishop of Bolivia and a priest from the Claretian order, all of whom, he said, “have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church.”

The Cardinals-elect are:

His Beatitude Louis Raphaël I Sako – Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon
His Excellency Luis Ladaria –Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
His Excellency Angelo De Donatis – Vicar General of Rome
His Excellency Giovanni Angelo Becciu – Substitute of the Secretary of State and Special Delegate for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
His Excellency Konrad Krajewski – Almoner of the Office of Papal Charities
His Excellency Joseph Coutts – Archbishop of Karachi
His Excellency António dos Santos Marto – Bishop of Leiria-Fátima
His Excellency Pedro Barreto – Archbishop of Huancayo
His Excellency Desiré Tsarahazana – Archbishop of Toamasina
His Excellency Giuseppe Petrocchi – Archbishop of L’Aquila
His Excellency Thomas Aquinas Manyo – Archbishop of Osaka

Those over 80:
His Excellency Sergio Obeso Rivera – Emeritus Archbishop of Xalapa, 87.
His Excellency Toribio Ticona Porco – Emeritus Bishop of Corocoro, 81 .
Claretian Father Aquilino Bocos Merino – former Superior General of the Claretians, turned 80 on May 17..

PAPAL APPEALS FOR PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST, VENEZUELA

After his Regina Coeli address in St Peter’s Square on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square announced that he continues to pray for the Middle East and expressed his hopes for Venezuela. (Vatican media photo)

by Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

“Pentecost brings us at heart to Jerusalem,” Pope Francis began after reciting the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square on Pentecost Sunday.
Prayer for Peace in the Middle East

The Pope went on to say that he had followed spiritually a prayer vigil for peace held in Jerusalem on the Vigil of Pentecost. “Let us continue to pray today,” he invited those gathered, “that the Holy Spirit might arouse the desire for and gestures of dialogue and reconciliation in the Holy Land and in the entire Middle East.”

Beloved Venezuela

Pope Francis then turned his thoughts to Venezuela*, calling that nation “beloved”. He prayed that the Holy Spirit might give all the people of Venezuela “the wisdom to find the path of peace and unity.” He ended this thought praying for the inmates who died during a prison riot on Saturday night.

*Venezuelans are electing a new president today.

COLLEGE OF CARDINALS WELCOMES 5 NEW MEMBERS

COLLEGE OF CARDINALS WELCOMES 5 NEW MEMBERS

For the fourth time in his four year papacy, Pope Francis today held the fourth Public Ordinary Consistory for the creation of 5 new Cardinals. The ceremony, which is not a liturgy, includes the the imposition of the scarlet zucchetto and beretta, the presentation of the ring and the assignment of a Title or Diaconia to a church in Rome.

The consistory began with a greeting by Cardinal Omella Omella of Barcelona, one of the five new eminences, then a prayer, and reading a passage of the gospel according to Mark. Pope Francis read the formula of creation of a cardinal in Latin, solemnly proclaiming the names of the new cardinals. The cardinals then recited the profession of faith in Latin as well as the oath of fidelity and obedience to Pope Francis and his successors.

One by one, the new cardinals ascended the steps to the main altar, ascending in the order in which they were named last May 21 by Pope Francis. As they knelt before the Pope, he placed the zucchetto or skull cap and the cardinal’s beretta, a square cap with three raised peaks, followed by the cardinalatial ring.

The final act by the Holy Father was to assign to each cardinal a church of Rome as a sign of participation in the pastoral care of the Pope in the diocese of Rome. This was followed by the exchange of peace between the Pope and the new cardinals.

Cardinal Jean ZERBO, Title of Sant’Antonio da Padova in Via Tuscolana (St. Anthony of Padua in Via Tuscolana)

Cardinal Juan José OMELLA OMELLA, Title of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Holy Cross in Jerusalem)

Cardinal Anders ARBORELIUS, O.C.D., Title of Santa Maria degli Angeli and Martiri (St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs)

Cardinal Louis-Marie Ling MANGKHANEKHOUN, Title of San Silvestro in Capite (St. Silvester in Capite)

Cardinal Gregorio ROSA CHÁVEZ, Title of Santissimo Sacramento a Tor de’ Schiavi (Most Holy Sacrament at Tor de’ Schiavi)

Following is the homily given during the consistory by Pope Francis. It was similar in content to much the general audience held earlier in the morning in St. Peter’s Square on the catechesis of Christian hope:

“Jesus was walking ahead of them”. This is the picture that the Gospel we have just read (Mk 10:32-45) presents to us. It serves as a backdrop to the act now taking place: this Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals.

Jesus walks resolutely towards Jerusalem. He knows fully what awaits him there; on more than one occasion, he spoke of it to his disciples. But there is a distance between the heart of Jesus and the hearts of the disciples, which only the Holy Spirit can bridge. Jesus knows this, and so he is patient with them. He speaks to them frankly and, above all, *he goes before them*. He walks *ahead *of them.

Along the way, the disciples themselves are distracted by concerns that have nothing to do with the “direction” taken by Jesus, with his will, which is completely one with that of the Father”. So it is that, as we heard, the two brothers James and John think of how great it would be to take their seats at the right and at the left of the King of Israel (cf. v. 37). They are not facing reality! They think they see, but they don’t. They think they know, but they don’t. They think they understand better than the others, but they don’t…

For the reality is completely different. It is what Jesus sees and what directs his steps. The reality is the cross. It is the sin of the world that he came to take upon himself, and to uproot from the world of men and women. It is the innocent who suffer and die as victims of war and terrorism; the forms of enslavement that continue to violate human dignity even in the age of human rights; the refugee camps which at times seem more like a hell than a purgatory; the systematic discarding of all that is no longer useful, people included.

This is what Jesus sees as he walks towards Jerusalem. During his public ministry he made known the Father’s tender love by healing all who were oppressed by the evil one (cf. Acts 10:38). Now he realizes that the moment has come to press on to the very end, to eliminate evil at its root. And so, he walks resolutely towards the cross.

We too, brothers and sisters, are journeying with Jesus along this path. I speak above all to you, dear new Cardinals. Jesus “is walking ahead of you”, and he asks you to follow him resolutely on his way. He calls you to look at reality, not to let yourselves be distracted by other interests or prospects. He has not called you to become “princes” of the Church, to “sit at his right or at his left”. He calls you to serve like him and with him. To serve the Father and your brothers and sisters. He calls you to face as he did the sin of the world and its effects on today’s humanity. Follow him, and walk ahead of the holy people of God, with your gaze fixed on the Lord’s cross and resurrection

And now, with faith and through the intercession of the Virgin Mother, let us ask the Holy Spirit to bridge every gap between our hearts and the heart of Christ, so that our lives may be completely at the service of God and all our brothers and sisters.

 

THE CHURCH TO WELCOME FIVE NEW CARDINALS JUNE 28 – POPE FRANCIS MARKS 25 YEARS AS A BISHOP

THE CHURCH TO WELCOME FIVE NEW CARDINALS JUNE 28

Tomorrow, June 28, as you know, Pope Francis will hold a consistory to name 5 new cardinals, bringing the members of the College of Cardinals to 225. Of these, 121 are under 80 years and can participate in a conclave.  The ceiling for the number of cardinal electors is 120 but popes have gone over that number a handful of times.

The new cardinals are from Mali, Spain, Sweden, Laos and El Salvador.

After Wednesday’s consistory, the 4th of Francis’ papacy, of the cardinal electors, 19 will have been appointed by St. John Paul II, 53 by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and 49 by Pope Francis.  Compared to the College of Cardinals in March 2013 when Francis was elected, today there are fewer cardinals from Europe and North America and slightly more in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.  Italy still has the greatest number of cardinal electors with 24. Next, with 10 electors, is the United States, then France with 5, and Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Poland and India, with four each.

I was privileged to interview one of the new cardinals this afternoon, Sweden’s Cardinal Anders Arborelius. He is a lovely, down to earth person whom you feel you have known for a long time, and he speaks six languages! He has been the bishop of Stockholm since 1998. He is not only the first ever cardinal from Sweden, he is the first ever cardinal from Scandinavia.

He was born in Switzerland of Swedish parents, grew up Lutheran, converted to Catholicism, wanted to be a diocesan priest but became a Discalced Carmelite, after reading Saint Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography, The Story of a Soul.

KTLA photo of Pope and Bishop Arborelius during visit to Sweden – Mass at Swedbank:

I’ll let you know when that interview will air on “Vatican Insider”!!

POPE FRANCIS MARKS 25 YEARS AS A BISHOP

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Tuesday morning in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, together with the members of the College of Cardinals present in the city, in order to mark the 25th jubilee of his ordination to the episcopacy.

The Dean of the College of Cardinals offered greetings and best wishes to Pope Francis on the occasion, recalling the words of St. Paul the Apostle in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, “Make room for us in your hearts,”

Cardinal Sodano said. “Holy Father, you need not tell us to make room for you in our hearts,” pledging all the love and reverence due the Successor to Peter.

In remarks following the Readings of the Day, the first of which was taken from the Book of Genesis, recounting the episode in which Abraham and Lot part ways, Pope Francis focused on the three imperatives that God gives the Father of Faith: “Arise!” “Look out!” “Be hopeful!”

“When Abraham was called, he was more or less our age,” Pope Francis said to the elder statesmen of the Church. “He was going to retire, to go into retirement for some rest – he started out at that age.” “An old man,” the Pope continued, “with the weight of old age, old age that brings pain, illness – but [God said to him], as if he were a young man, ‘Get up, go, go! As if he were a scout: go! Look and hope!’”

The Holy Father went on to say that the message God gave to Abraham in that day, He also gives to each of those present in this day: to be on the way, about the journey; to look toward the ever-retreating horizon, and to hope without stint, despite it all.

“There are those, who do not love us, who say that we are the ‘Gerontocracy’ of the Church. This is mere mockery. Whoever says so knows not what he says. We are not tired old fools [It. geronti]: we are grandfathers. And if we do not feel this, we must ask the grace to feel that it is so. We are grandfathers, to whom our grandchildren look – grandparents who, with our experience, must share with those grandchildren a sense of what life is really about – grandparents not closed off in melancholy over our salad days, but open to give this [gift] of meaning, of sense. For us, then, this threefold imperative: ‘Arise! Look outward! Hope!” is called ‘dreaming’. We are grandfathers called to dream and to pass on our dream to today’s youth: they need it, that they might take from our dreams the power to prophesy and carry on their work.”

After the Mass, the Holy Father greeted the Cardinal-concelebrants one-by-one. He also greeted members of the household staff and the professional staff of the Secretariat for Communications, who had done the live Vatican Radio commentary for the liturgy in several languages, including English.

 

PAPAL SCHEDULE FOR LAST WEEK IN JUNE – VATICAN STATEMENT ON MISSING CHINESE BISHOP

PAPAL SCHEDULE FOR LAST WEEK IN JUNE

MONDAY morning was Pope Francis’ last Mass in the chapel of the anta Marta Residence before his summer break. Masses will resume in September after the Pope’s trip to Colombia scheduled for September 6 to 11.

TUESDAY at 8 am in the Pauline Chapel. Pope Francis will concelebrate Mass with the cardinals present in Rome on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his Episcopal ordination.  At 9:30 he will meet with a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as it visits Rome for the June 29th feast of St. Peter and Paul, Apostles. At 10 am he is scheduled to meet with Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

WEDNESDAY at 9 am in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father will meet with a delegation of about 1,000 members of the Confederation of Italian Labor Unions. At 10 in St. Peter’s Square he will preside at the final general audience before the summer break. Audiences will resume August 2.

At 4 pm Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope will preside at an ordinary public consistory for the creation of five new cardinals. From 6 to 8 pm that day, courtesy visits to the new cardinals will take place in the Paul VI Hall.

THURSDAY, June 29, feast of St. Peter and Paul, Apostles, patron saints of Rome, is a holiday in both the Vatican and Rome. At 9:30 am in St. Peter’s Square, Mass with the rite of the blessings of palliums for the new metropolitan archbishops. The 5 new cardinals will be present, as will members of the College of Cardinals, bishops and priests. Pope Francis will recite the Angelus at noon.

FRIDAY, the Pope will have a series of private audiences in the morning and at 12:30, in the Clementine Hall welcome 200 members of the Italo-Latin American International Organization

VATICAN STATEMENT ON MISSING CHINESE BISHOP

From Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke:

In response to questions from journalists regarding the case of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou (Continental China), I can state the following:

The Holy See is observing with grave concern the personal situation of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, forcibly removed from his episcopal see some time ago.

The diocesan Catholic community and his relatives have no news or reasons for his removal, nor do they know where he is being held. In this respect, the Holy See, profoundly saddened for this and other similar episodes that unfortunately do not facilitate ways of understanding, expresses the hope that Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin may return as soon as possible to the diocese and that he can be assured the possibility of serenely exercising his episcopal ministry. We are all invited to pray for Bishop Shao Zhumin and for the path of the Catholic Church in China.

A recent chronology by AsiaNews:

June 8:

The bishop disappeared after being called for a meeting with the Office for Religious Affairs. Bishop Shao is recognized by the Vatican, but not by the government. The bishop’s mother, 90, asks to be able to see her son. Catholics in Wenzhou ask for prayers for their shepherd, so he may be “strong” in faith and witness. In the past some underground bishops were killed while in police hands.

Wenzhou (AsiaNews) – There is still no news of Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang). The diocese’s faithful are very concerned, and with them also the bishop’s mother, a 90-year-old woman who has already asked several times to see her son. Msgr. Shao, 54, disappeared last May 18, after being invited at 9 am to the office for religious affairs in the city. His whereabouts remain unknown.

On May 22, he made a request to his co-workers to have wine for the celebration of Mass, but since then nothing has been heard. Priests and faithful say they do not know where he is and the authorities will tell them nothing.

A message sent to AsiaNews by a member of the faithful asks for “prayers to God to guide him to have a strong faith and a clear witness.” Msgr. Shao had been kidnapped already in April, a few days ahead of Easter, perhaps to prevent him from commemorating the rites of Holy Week with the faithful and his priests. Bishop Shao is a member of the underground community and as a bishop is not recognized by the government. The Holy See, however, confirmed him as ordinary bishop of the diocese, after the death of his predecessor, Msgr. Vincenzo Zhu Weifang, on September 7th. It is most likely that his forced disappearance aims to persuade the prelate to enroll in the Patriotic Association (PA), the party body that wants to build an independent Church, which is “inconsistent with Catholic doctrine “as Benedict XVI affirms in his 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics, a position confirmed by Pope Francis.

June 19:

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, a bishop not recognised by the overnment, is missing again. The bishop apparently arrived at Wenzhou airport, but did not go home.  Government officials took him to an unknown place. His priests did not see him at home. According to the latest figures, Wenzhou Catholics number 130,000.

Wenzhou (AsiaNews) – Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, ordinary bishop of Wenzhou, is still in the hands of the police held at an unknown location. A report AsiaNews received two days ago was only partially right.

Three days ago, the bishop was seen at Wenzhou Airport waiting for luggage. A Catholic who was there by chance took a photo of him.

This led some Catholics to believe that the bishop had finally been brought back to his city.  However, a day later, some priests in the diocese noted that the bishop had not been seen at his home.

When he was getting his luggage at the airport, the prelate was accompanied by government officers, perhaps plain-clothes police, who drove him in a Volkswagen, not home, but to an unknown location.

Bishop Shao, 54, belongs to Wenzhou’s unofficial Catholic community, which is not recognised by the government. He is the ordinary bishop of the local diocese. He was taken on 18 May by police and was held for almost a month until he was seen at the airport.

It is thought that his absence, like previous disappearances, was part of an attempt to persuade him to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association so that he can be under its control. For the latter, “underground” bishops are regarded as “unreliable”.

June 26:

The last 10 years of the Church in China: from the Letter of Benedict XVI to the silence on the arrest of Msgr. Shao Zhumin – by Joseph

The silence on the persecution of Chinese Catholics and their bishops in Wenzhou and Shanghai. The organisms that Benedict XVI did not accept (Patriotic Association and Chinese Bishops’ Conference) because “incompatible with Catholic doctrine” now govern the Church. Dialogue between China and the Vatican must address the issue of underground bishops out in the open and not under the shroud of secrecy. An analysis from a northeast Chinese Catholic, as the Vatican celebrates a new round of China-Holy See talks.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/The-last-10-years-of-the-Church-in-China:-from-the-Letter-of-Benedict-XVI-to-the-silence-on-the-arrest-of-Msgr.-Shao-Zhumin-41118.html

A YEAR OF MERCY ENDS, A HOLY DOOR IS CLOSED, THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS GROWS

A YEAR OF MERCY ENDS, A HOLY DOOR IS CLOSED, THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS GROWS

This past weekend was jam-packed with important ecclesial moments: the consistory Saturday to create 17 new cardinals, the closing on Sunday of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica and the end of the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy and the signing by Pope Francis’ of his post Jubilee Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera, (“Mercy and Misery”) at the end of Mass.

With the new cardinals, there are now 228 members of the College of Cardinals: 121 cardinal electors, that is, cardinals under the age of 80 who can vote in a future conclave and 107 non electors, those over the age of 80 who, though they may not vote in a conclave could theoretically be elected Pope.

red-hats-at-2015-consistory

SATURDAY: “A MYSTAGOGY OF MERCY: LOVE, DO GOOD, BLESS AND PRAY

In his homily at Saturday’s consistory for the creation of new cardinals, Pope Francis told the new Eminences that, “The Gospel passage we have just heard (cf. Lk 6:27-36) is often referred to as the ‘Sermon on the Plain’.  After choosing the Twelve, Jesus came down with his disciples to a great multitude of people who were waiting to hear him and to be healed.  The call of the Apostles is linked to this ‘setting out’, descending to the plain to encounter the multitudes who, as the Gospel says, were ‘troubled’.

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“Instead of keeping the Apostles at the top of the mountain, their being chosen leads them to the heart of the crowd; it sets them in the midst of those who are troubled, on the “plain” of their daily lives.  The Lord thus shows the Apostles, and ourselves, that the true heights are reached on the plain, while the plain reminds us that the heights are found in a gaze and above all in a call: ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful’.”

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The Holy Father explained that, “there are four actions that will shape, embody and make tangible the path of discipleship.  We could say that they represent four stages of a mystagogy of mercy: love, do good, bless and pray.  I think we can all agree on these, and see them as something reasonable.”

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Then he noted that “the problem comes when Jesus tells us for whom we have do these things.  Here he is very clear.  He minces no words, he uses no euphemisms.  He tells us: love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who mistreat you (cf. vv. 27-28).

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“Ours is an age of grave global problems and issues,” continued Francis. “We live at a time in which polarization and exclusion are burgeoning and considered the only way to resolve conflicts.  We see, for example, how quickly those among us with the status of a stranger, an immigrant, or a refugee, become a threat, take on the status of an enemy. An enemy because they come from a distant country or have different customs. An enemy because of the color of their skin, their language or their social class. An enemy because they think differently or even have a different faith.  An enemy because…

“And, without our realizing it, this way of thinking becomes part of the way we live and act.  Everything and everyone then begins to savour of animosity.  Little by little, our differences turn into symptoms of hostility, threats and violence.  How many wounds grow deeper due to this epidemic of animosity and violence, which leaves its mark on the flesh of many of the defenseless, because their voice is weak and silenced by this pathology of indifference!  How many situations of uncertainty and suffering are sown by this growing animosity between peoples, between us!  Yes, between us, within our communities, our priests, our meetings.

“The virus of polarization and animosity permeates our way of thinking, feeling and acting.  We are not immune from this and we need to take care lest such attitudes find a place in our hearts, because this would be contrary to the richness and universality of the Church, which is tangibly evident in the College of Cardinals. We come from distant lands; we have different traditions, skin color, languages and social backgrounds; we think differently and we celebrate our faith in a variety of rites.  None of this makes us enemies; instead, it is one of our greatest riches.”

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SUNDAY: A HOLY DOOR OF MERCY IS CLOSED BUT NOT THE HEART OF JESUS

In his homily at Mass on Sunday, Solemnity of Christ the King, after closing the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis said, “even if the Holy Door is closed, the true door of mercy, which is the heart of Christ, always remains open wide for us.” And he explained that the power of Christ the King “is not power as defined by this world, but the love of God, a love capable of encountering and healing all things.”

“In order to receive the kingship of Jesus,” said the Holy Father, “we are called to struggle against this temptation, called to fix our gaze on the Crucified One, to become ever more faithful to him.  How many times, even among ourselves, do we seek out the comforts and certainties offered by the world.  How many times are we tempted to come down from the Cross.  The lure of power and success seem an easy, quick way to spread the Gospel; we soon forget how the Kingdom of God works.

“This Year of Mercy,” he continued, “invites us to rediscover the core, to return to what is essential.  This time of mercy calls us to look to the true face of our King, the one that shines out at Easter, and to rediscover the youthful, beautiful face of the Church, the face that is radiant when it is welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means but rich in love, on mission.  Mercy, which takes us to the heart of the Gospel, urges us to give up habits and practices which may be obstacles to serving the Kingdom of God; mercy urges us to orient ourselves only in the perennial and humble kingship of Jesus, not in submission to the precarious regalities and changing powers of every age.”

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MONDAY: POST JUBILEE APOSTOLIC LETTER, MISERICORDIA ET MISERA.

Pope Francis signed his Post Jubilee Year Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera, at the end of Mass Sunday and it was made public Monday morning, November 21. In this 7,400-word letter the Pope wrote: “In light of the ‘great graces of mercy’ we have received during the Jubilee, our first response is to give thanks to the Lord for His gifts. But in going forward, we must also continue to celebrate mercy, especially in the liturgical celebrations of the Church, including in the Sacrifice of the Mass, and in the other Sacraments, especially in Reconciliation and in Anointing of the Sick, the two ‘sacraments of healing’.”

The breaking news of that document was Pope Francis’ decision to extend indefinitely the permission he gave to priests at the start of the Holy Year of Mercy to absolve those who have committed the sin of abortion, an excommunicable offense.

In the Apostolic Letter he wrote: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.” And he also said: “There is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled” with God.

Because abortion has always been a very grave sin, punishable by excommunication, the possibility of granting forgiveness always rested under the authority of a bishop. A bishop could hear the woman’s confession himself or delegate that to a priest who had been specifically trained in this area. However, in 2015, Pope Francis had said he was allowing all priests to grant absolution for an abortion for the duration of the Holy Year, which ran from December 8, 2015 through November 20, 2016.

Now, with a view to carrying out Francis’ vision of a merciful Church, priests may, on a permanent basis, absolve the sin of abortion, an act the Pope has called “this agonizing and painful decision.” Francis asked priests “to be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation” for faithful who had abortions.

Here is what he wrote, in part in the Apostolic Letter:

The Sacrament of Reconciliation must regain its central place in the Christian life. This requires priests capable of putting their lives at the service of the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18), in such a way that, while no sincerely repentant sinner is prevented from drawing near to the love of the Father who awaits his return, everyone is afforded the opportunity of experiencing the liberating power of forgiveness.

“A favorable occasion for this could be the 24 Hours for the Lord, a celebration held in proximity to the Fourth Sunday of Lent. This initiative, already in place in many dioceses, has great pastoral value in encouraging a more fervent experience of the sacrament of Confession.

  1. Given this need, lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year,[14] is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.

“For the Jubilee Year I had also granted that those faithful who, for various reasons, attend churches officiated by the priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, can validly and licitly receive the sacramental absolution of their sins.[15] For the pastoral benefit of these faithful, and trusting in the good will of their priests to strive with God’s help for the recovery of full communion in the Catholic Church, I have personally decided to extend this faculty beyond the Jubilee Year, until further provisions are made, lest anyone ever be deprived of the sacramental sign of reconciliation through the Church’s pardon.

Pope Francis also invites the Church to Celebrate a World Day of the Poor:

“During the ‘Jubilee for Socially Excluded People’, as the Holy Doors of Mercy were being closed in all the cathedrals and shrines of the world, I had the idea that, as yet another tangible sign of this Extraordinary Holy Year, the entire Church might celebrate, on the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, the World Day of the Poor. This would be the worthiest way to prepare for the celebration of the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, who identified with the little ones and the poor and who will judge us on our works of mercy (cf. Mt 25:31-46). It would be a day to help communities and each of the baptized to reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel and that, as long as Lazarus lies at the door of our homes (cf. Lk 16:19-21), there can be no justice or social peace. This Day will also represent a genuine form of new evangelization (cf. Mt 11:5) which can renew the face of the Church as She perseveres in her perennial activity of pastoral conversion and witness to mercy.”

Click here for the complete Apostolic Letter: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco-lettera-ap_20161120_misericordia-et-misera.html

THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS: A LOOK AT HISTORY – THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS TODAY

THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS: A LOOK AT HISTORY

As we welcome 17 new Eminences to the College of Cardinals, including 13 cardinal electors, let’s look at the College – first a bit of history, then the College today.

Following that of Pope, the title of cardinal is the highest dignity in the Catholic Church, and was recognized as early as the pontificate of Sylvester I (314-335). Rooted in the Latin word “cardo,” meaning hinge, cardinals are created by a decree of the Roman Pontiff and chosen to serve as his principal collaborators and assistants.

It is important to note that the title “cardinal” is an honorific title – a cardinal is not an ordained order – those three orders are deacon, priest and bishop.

In early years, “cardinal” was a title attributed generically to ecclesiastics in the service of a church or diaconate, particularly to ecclesiastics in Rome who were the Pope’s counselors. Later this title was reserved for those responsible for the titular churches of Rome and the most important churches in Italy and abroad. Gradually, from Pope Nicholas II in 1059 to Eugenio IV in 1438, this title acquired the prestige that still marks it today.

The College of Cardinals was constituted in its current form in 1150: it has a dean, who is the bishop of Ostia, along with the other titular church which he already holds, and a camerlengo or chamberlain, who administers the goods of the Church when the See of Peter is vacant. The dean is chosen from those cardinals of episcopal rank who possess a title to a suburbicarian Church – think of suburban – that is, the six dioceses closest to Rome (Albano, Frascati, Ostia, Palestrina, Porto-Santa Ruffina and Velletri-Segni).

Canons 349 through 359 govern the makeup and responsibilities of the College.

Canon 349 states: “The cardinals of the Holy Roman Church constitute a special college whose responsibility is to provide for the election of the Roman Pontiff in accord with the norm of special law; The cardinals assist the Roman Pontiff collegially when they are called together to deal with questions of major importance; they do so individually when they assist the Roman Pontiff especially in the daily care of the universal Church by means of the different offices which they perform.”

The number of cardinals varied almost until the end of the 16th century and continued to increase in keeping with the successive development of the Church’s affairs. Sixtus V, with the constitution “Postquam verus” of December 1586, established the number of Cardinals at 70. The number of cardinals has increased since then and it reached 144 after the consistory of March 1973.

Eight years earlier, in February 1965, Paul VI extended the College of Cardinals to include the oriental patriarchs.

On November 21, 1970, with another motu proprio, Paul VI established that when cardinals reached the age of 80: a) they ceased to be members of the dicasteries  – the offices – of the Roman Curia and of all the permanent organisms of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State; b) they become ineligible to elect the Roman Pontiff and to enter the Conclave.

There is no maximum number today for the entire College of Cardinals although the ceiling for cardinal electors is 120. That was set by Blessed Paul VI in 1973.

THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS TODAY

If you love statistics, the following links from the Holy See Press Office are for you!

List of Cardinals in alphabetical order:

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/documentation/cardinali—statistiche/elenco_alfabetico.html

List of Cardinals in order of Age:

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/documentation/cardinali—statistiche/elenco_per_eta.html

List of Cardinals according to Nations and in order of Age:

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/documentation/cardinali—statistiche/elenco_per_nazione.html

Graph: Distribution of Cardinal electors and non-electors:

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/documentation/cardinali—statistiche/distribuzione-per-tipo.html

Graph: Distribution of Cardinals according to role:

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/documentation/cardinali—statistiche/distribuzione-per-funzione.html

Composition of Cardinals according to geographical region:

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/documentation/cardinali—statistiche/composizione-per-area.html

Graph: Distribution of Cardinals according to geographical region

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/documentation/cardinali—statistiche/distribuzione-per-area.html