POPE: STUDY OF EASTERN CHURCH LAW HELPS ECUMENISM – COUNCIL OF CARDINALS MEETS TO STUDY APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION

POPE: STUDY OF EASTERN CHURCH LAW HELPS ECUMENISM

Pope Francis on Thursday received in audience participants in the congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

The work of the , which brings together experts from the Eastern Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Churches, is of fundamental assistance to ecumenical dialogue, Pope Francis said on Thursday.

Speaking to some 80 participants in the 24th International Congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches, underway in Rome from September 16 to 20, he said that they can learn from one another in all areas of ecclesial life, such as theology, the experience of spirituality and liturgy, pastoral activity and canon law.

The Society aims at promoting better international and inter-confessional scholarly collaboration among specialists of the Law of the Eastern Churches and of the Civil Law on Eastern Churches, It is marking its 50th anniversary.

Ecclesiology
According to the Pope, “Canon law is essential for ecumenical dialogue.” Many of the theological dialogues pursued by the Catholic Church, especially with the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Churches, he said, are of an ecclesiological nature. Since ecclesiology finds expression in the institutions and the law of the Churches, theological dialogues, he said, also have a canonical dimension. Ecumenical dialogue also enriches canon law.

Synodality
The Holy Father particularly focused on synodality, explaining that, when translated into established institutions and procedures of the Church, it expresses the ecumenical dimension of canon law. The Catholic Church can learn from the synodal experience of other traditions, especially the Eastern Churches, and its own experience of synodality is important for its relations with other Christians.

Synodality, he said, is a challenge for ecumenism. The commitment to build a synodal Church, to which all are called has significant ecumenical implications. In this regard, the Pope said that the current theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church seeks precisely a common understanding of primacy and synodality and their relationship in the service of the unity of the Church.

That they may be one
The work of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches also has a synodal dimension as they walk together and, in mutual listening, evaluate their traditions and experiences to find ways to full unity as wished by the Lord in His prayer: “that they may all be one; […] so that the world may believe.”

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS MEETS TO STUDY APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION

The Council of Cardinals, a group of nine cardinals from different parts of the world chosen by Pope Francis at the start of his pontificate as papal advisors, met this week at the Vatican for the 31st time. Now only 6 cardinals and two bishops who act as secretaries, the group met Tuesday through Thursday, with Pope Francis participating when his schedule allowed.

There was no press conference this time to explain the work sessions to the media but the press office did issue a note today, stating that “the activity of this Council meeting focused on re-reading and modifying the draft of the new Apostolic Constitution on the basis of the many contributions that have arrived from Episcopal conferences, the precise observations of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the suggestions provided by the interested bodies. This first re-reading, which has come to an end, was a passage of listening and reflection that responds to the indications of the Holy Father in the sense of communion and synodality.”

The Council has set the calendar of meetings for 2020. The next meeting for 2019 will be December 2, 3 and 4.

PRESS OFFICE BRIEFING ON MEETING OF C9 CARDINALS

PRESS OFFICE BRIEFING ON MEETING OF C9 CARDINALS

At 1 pm today, interim director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, held a briefing on the XXIX meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals with the Holy Father Francis.

The Council of Cardinals met for three days: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 8, 9 and 10. Present were Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., Reinhard Marx, Seán Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Giuseppe Bertello and Oswald Gracias. The council secretary, Bishop Marcello Semeraro, and assistant secretary, Archbishop Marco Mellino were also present.

The Holy Father participated in all the sessions except for this morning; Wednesday, when he presided at the general audience.

Work sessions took place in the morning from 9.00 to 12.30 and in the afternoon from 16.30 to 19.00. During the meeting the procedure was finalized for consultation on the new Apostolic Constitution whose provisional title – as is known – is Praedicate Evangelium. The draft, approved by the Council of Cardinals, will now be sent to the presidents of the National Episcopal Conferences, the synods of the Eastern Churches, the departments of the Roman Curia, the conferences of Superiors and Major Superiors and to some pontifical universities who will be asked to send comments and suggestions.

Other topics addressed during the work sessions: the missionary orientation that the Curia must increasingly assume in the light of the new Apostolic Constitution, the commitment to strengthen the process of synodality in the Church at all levels, the need for greater presence of the women in leadership roles in the organisms of the Holy See. It was also reiterated that the Council of Cardinals is a body that has the task of helping the Holy Father in the governance of the universal Church and therefore its function does not end with the publication of the Apostolic Constitution,

On Tuesday April 9, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley explained to the Pope and the Council the work of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors that was held last week. Cardinal O’Malley thanked the Pope for the Vatican meeting in February on “The protection of minors in the Church” and the recent publication of the norms for the Vatican City State that strengthen the Church’s commitment against all forms of abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place June 25, 26 and 27, 2019.

GELATO AND CARDINALS TOP THE PAPAL AGENDA – VENEZUELAN BISHOPS APPEAL TO POLITICAL LEADERS TO HEED THEIR CRY – TODDLER ALFIE GIVEN ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP, PARTIES NEGOTIATE TO BRING HIM TO ROME

I don’t know how many of you have been following the very long political odyssey in Venezuela that has caused indescribable anguish as the citizens seek food staples, medicine and so many other necessities of life, that have been in short supply – in some cases, non-existence – for years now! The bishops have issued a plea, a call to Venezuela’s president and other political leaders to remedy the situation, stating how alarmed they are “to see how the evils pointed out in our Pastoral Exhortation of January of this year have worsened.”

I have friends in Venezuela, and what the bishops write is in no way an exaggeration of the current situation, according to my friends.

Another troubling situation, yet very different as it concerns a life and death matter for an English toddler. I’m sure you’ve seen a headline or two about little Alfie Evans whose respirator, the one keeping him alive in the face of a yet to be fully understood illness, was to be removed yesterday by a court order. Rome’s Bambino Gesu Children’s hospital is trying to bring Alfie to Rome: you can follow this other odyssey in the third story I posted below.

GELATO AND CARDINALS TOP THE PAPAL AGENDA

Pope Francis spent yesterday and is spending today in meetings with the C9, the body of nine cardinal advisors to the Pope as they gather in their 23rd session.

However, there was a brief break yesterday for the Holy Father. Not only did he offer 3000 servings of Italy’s celebrated gelato to the homeless and needy to mark his onomastico or name day on Monday (feast of St. George – Jorge), Pope Francis actually marked this day by spending time with the needy and homeless of Rome, according to a brief note from the Office of Papal Charities.

VENEZUELAN BISHOPS APPEAL TO POLITICAL LEADERS TO HEED THEIR CRY

In an urgent appeal, the bishops of Venezuela ask government leaders to address the grave humanitarian concerns afflicting the nation and they describe the President’s current bid for re-election as illegitimate at this time.
By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

The bishops of Venezuela have released a strongly-worded statement in which they list a series of grave problems afflicting the people and express their concern for the “surprising indifference of government officials” in the face of these problems.

They also make an urgent appeal to President Nicolas Maduro to reconsider his re-election bid and focus on tackling grave humanitarian concerns afflicting the people.

“As pastors driven by the love of Christ and as citizens of Venezuela” the bishops say at the beginning of a statement which was released on Monday, “we turn to Catholics and to all men and women of good will to share our concerns.”

“We are alarmed to see how the evils pointed out in our Pastoral Exhortation of January of this year have worsened: Hyperinflation has increased the general impoverishment of the population, with the decomposition of the quality of life of all. The general lack of electricity, water and gas services throughout the country makes life more and more difficult,” the statement says.

All this, the bishops point out, in the face of the surprising indifference of government officials who are charged with solving these problems.

They state that the very plans put into place by President Maduro to assuage food scarcity are not working, and “it all translates into more hunger and unemployment.”

Added to this, they say, is “the increase in unhealthiness due to the uncontrollable appearance of epidemics and diseases in the most vulnerable populations, with the aggravating factor of the lack of medicines for treatment. This problem is generating a large number of protests throughout the country, which, although silenced by the media, are increasing.”

The bishops highlight the fact that more and more Venezuelans, from all levels of society, are emigrating “in increasingly precarious conditions.” They point out that this breaks family ties, brings desolation and abandonment of the elderly and children.

They also express gratitude to the countries that have welcomed and received Venezuelans who have been forced to leave and to Church organizations for the assistance offered to migrants.

“Faced with humanitarian problems of such magnitude, the statement says, the Presidential elections, called for May 20, lack legitimacy.”

The bishops elaborate on this concept saying “the electoral campaign has not been conceived with guarantees to ensure a free, reliable and transparent electoral process.”

They point out that far from providing a solution to the crisis, an electoral campaign could aggravate the crisis and trigger an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.

“It is therefore urgent to postpone (the vote) to the last trimester of the year.” they say.

The bishops reiterate their urgent appeal to the rulers and leaders of the nation to take responsibility for the many issues and to listen to the people and engage with them without further delay. They suggest the help of private sectors and even of sister countries could be solicited in the attempt to control hyperinflation and to facilitate the search for political solutions.

“All Venezuelans must be aware that at stake at this time is not only an electoral event or even the transitory deterioration of the quality of life of a people, but its very existence as a free, fraternal and democratic nation.”

The bishops of Venezuela conclude their appeal calling for a change in direction in order to “take a different course from this saga of death”, through “the strength of faith and the power of hope” urging “those who believe in the living and Risen Christ to be courageous and to take responsibility in the knowledge that the last word does not belong to loneliness, suffering or hopelessness, but to God.”

TODDLER ALFIE GIVEN ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP, PARTIES NEGOTIATE TO BRING HIM TO ROME

(ANSA) – Rome, April 24 – A tug-of-war continued Tuesday between Britain and Italy over Alfie Evans, a terminally ill British toddler who has been made an Italian citizen in a bid to beat British court orders to let him die.

As Alfie survived being taken off life support and his parents practised mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, negotiations continued on bringing the child to Rome but the UK insisted it had jurisdiction, well-informed sources said.

Amid the new developments, British High Court appeals judge Anthony Hayden, who signed the ruling pulling the plug on Alfie, set a fresh hearing for this afternoon. The hearing has been called in Manchester at 15:30 local time (16:30 Italian time), his spokesman said. Lawyers from all parties including the family and Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital have been summoned, sources said.

Italy said it was ready to fly in a respirator for Alfie in a bid to beat court orders to pull the plug, according to Rome’s Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù Hospital chief Mariella Enoc. The hospital said: “Alfie now has a respirator. The Bambino Gesù team is ready to leave on a plane provided by (Defence) Minister (Roberta) Pinotti.”

“I spoke a short while ago with Thomas, Alfie’s father. At this time Alfie has an oxygen mask but we need to transport him”. She added “a short time ago I spoke with Ambassador (Raffaele) Trombetta to whom I said that our team has been alerted and is ready to leave in a few minutes”.

Contacts between Italian representatives and British political, health and judicial authorities have been continuing since last night (Monday April 23) but for now the UK authorities say the child’s British citizenship must take precedence over his newly granted Italian one in deciding jurisdiction, Italian sources said Tuesday.

Vatican diplomacy is at work to get Alfie to Italy for treatment, sources said Tuesday.

For more, click here: https://www.ansa.it/english/news/2018/04/24/alfie-fights-on-amid-tug-of-war-between-uk-italy-2_5663c4c7-58b2-45ba-b841-774315c509ff.html

POPE FRANCIS: GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS SOURCE OF HOPE – C9 OFFERS SERIOUS PROPOSALS FOR DECENTRALIZATION OF ROMAN CURIA

One of my favorite days during the years has always been June 14 when we celebrate Flag Day in America. Maybe because it was just as summer began and summer was marked by vacation time, bar-b-ques, beach parties and cookouts, July 4th and our independence. Everywhere you went, you’d find an American flag; wherever a flag could be hung or unfurled or simply placed in the sand at a beach, there it was, the Stars and Stripes.

There were then and are today rules for displaying the flag. I remember always having a flag on our home. We took it down at night because a flag could not be displayed at night unless a light was shining on it.

My heart breaks today when I read of people being unable to display the US flag at their home because of homeowers association regulations, or regulations from some other group.

Today I wish all my fellow Americans a Happy Flag Day, whether it is waving in the wind at your home or you are wearing a flag pin.

POPE FRANCIS: GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS SOURCE OF HOPE

Before he began today’s general audience just before 9:30 in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis paid a visit to the Paul VI Hall to greet sick people and their family members.

According to Vatican Radio which records such papal remarks, the Holy Father greeted to the sick, “Good morning to you all! Please be seated, be seated… Today we will hold the audience in two different places, but we will be joined by the maxi-screen, and so you will be more comfortable here, because in the square it is very hot! It will be a Turkish bath today!

“Thank you very much for coming,” continued the Pope, “And afterwards, listen to what I will say, but with the heart joined to those who are in the square: the Church is like this. A group here, a group there, but all united. And who unites the Church? The Holy Spirit. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to unite us all here today, in this audience. Veni, Sancte Spiritus … Our Father… Hail Mary…

”And now, I give you my blessing……Thank you, and pray for me! Do not forget! And we will continue to see each other…

A half hour later, Francis reached St. Peter’s Square, addressing groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and around the world on the theme of Christian hope.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began. “In our catechesis on Christian hope, we have found the source of that hope in God’s unconditional love, revealed for us in the coming of the Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  None of us can live without love. Happiness comes from the experience of knowing love, freely given and received.

Francis went on to say, in very comforting words, “So much unhappiness in our world is born of the feeling of not being loved for our own sake.  Faith teaches us that God loves us with an infinite love, not for any merit of our own, but out of his sheer goodness.  Even when we stray from him, God seeks us out, like the merciful father in the parable of the prodigal son, offers us forgiveness, and restores us to his embrace.

The Pope explained that, “In the words of Saint Paul: ‘While we still were sinners, Christ died for us’ so that we might become beloved sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.  Through the resurrection of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Spirit, we become sharers in God’s own life of love.  May all of us find in God’s embrace the promise of new life and freedom.  For in his love is the source of all our hope.”

C9 OFFERS SERIOUS PROPOSALS FOR DECENTRALIZATION OF ROMAN CURIA

 At 13.00 today, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, gave a briefing on the twentieth meeting of the Council of Cardinals attended by the Holy Father Francis. The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father for three days: Monday 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June. All members of the Council were present apart from Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

Pope Francis was absent this morning owing to the general audience.

The working sessions took place in the morning from 9.00 to 12.30, and in the afternoon from 16.30 to 19.00, and were dedicated to further consideration of the ways in which the Roman Curia can better serve the local Churches. For example, a larger consultation board made up also of members from consecrated life and the laity, for candidates proposed for appointment as bishop.

Among other proposals, the possibility of transferring some functions from the Roman Dicasteries to the local bishops or episcopal councils, in a spirit of healthy decentralization. For example, the transfer from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Episcopal Conference for examination and authorization for: the priestly ordination of an unmarried permanent deacon; the passage to new marriage for a widowed permanent deacon; the request for priestly ordination by a widowed permanent deacon.

The Cardinals gave further consideration to various Dicasteries of the Curia, in particular the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The Council studied and reread texts proposed for submission to the Holy Father regarding the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue; the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches; the Dicastery for Legislative Texts; and three tribunals: the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

Cardinal George Pell provided an update on the work of the Secretariat for the Economy, of which he is the president. Particular attention was paid to the steps ahead made in the process of planning of economic resources and in monitoring financial plans for the first trimester of 2017 which have substantially confirmed, with few exceptions, the budget data. Shortly the budget process will begin for 2018, and the monitoring for the second trimester of 2017.

The prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, presented a report on the state of the reform of the communication system of the Holy See; he illustrated the economic and management progress of the SPC, demonstrating positive results. He then explained the projects in the realization phase of the new communication system, in accordance with the Holy Father’s recent address on the occasion of the Dicastery’s first Plenary.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place on 11, 12 and 14 September 2017. (Holy See Press Office)

 

POPE FRANCIS, A SURPRISE VISITOR TO VANCOUVER TED CONFERENCE – BRIEFING HELD AS C9 CARDINALS END THREE-DAY MEETING

POPE FRANCIS, A SURPRISE VISITOR TO VANCOUVER TED CONFERENCE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has broken new ground in the way he communicates his message when the first-ever papal TED Talk went on line.

TED is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading ideas in the form of short talks. What began in 1984 as a conference covering Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED), today provides talks from a wide range of different speakers – except popes. Until today,according to Sean Lovett of Vatican Radio.

He wrote that, “those of us following TED’s annual Conference in Vancouver had been promised a surprise ‘world figure’ who would deliver his 18-minute message on the conference theme, ‘The Future You’, alongside tennis superstar, Serena Williams, entrepreneur, Elon Musk, and chess champion, Garry Kasparov.

But no one expected to see the Pope’s face appear on the screen. (photo) news.va)

“I very much like this title – ‘The Future You’”, began Pope Francis, “because, while looking at tomorrow, it invites us to open a dialogue today, to look at the future through a ‘you’…The future is made of you’s…because life flows through our relations with others”.

Speaking in his typically personal and informal style, the Pope reminded us of how “everything is connected” and of how “life is about interactions”. “None of us is an autonomous and independent ‘I’”, he said. “We can only build the future by standing together, including everyone”.

His second message regarded “educating people to a true solidarity” in order to overcome the “culture of waste” that puts products at the centre of techno-economic systems, instead of people. “The other has a face”, he said. “The ‘you’ is…a person to take care of”.

The Pope illustrated his point by quoting Mother Teresa and the parable of the Good Samaritan, before going on to talk about Hope – which he described as “a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree”. “A single individual is enough for hope to exist”, he said. “And that individual can be you”.

Pope Francis’ third and final message was dedicated to what he called “the revolution of tenderness”. Tenderness means “being on the same level as the other”, he said. It is not weakness, but strength: “the path of solidarity…of humility”. And through humility, even power becomes a service and a force for good.

The Pope concluded by affirming that the future of humankind is not in the hands of politicians or big companies but, most of all, in the hands of those people “who recognize the other as a ‘you’ and themselves as part of an ‘us’”. Because: “We all need each other”.

Listen to the English-dubbed version of the Pope’s TED talk (appears at end of written summary of papal talk): http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-gives-ted-talk-we-build-future-togeth

BRIEFING HELD AS C9 CARDINALS END THREE-DAY MEETING

(Vatican Radio) The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, held a briefing for the press on the 19th meeting of the cardinals who are advisors to Pope Francis.

The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father for three days, starting on Monday. All of the members of the council were present. Pope Francis was absent from the morning meeting on Wednesday due to the general audience.

The working sessions took place from 9 am to 12:30 pm and again from 16:30 to 19:00. They were dedicated to further considerations on the various dicasteries of the Roman Curia. In particular, discussions continued on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide), and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. The Cardinals also considered texts to propose to the Holy Father regarding the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; and three tribunals: the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

During the meetings, the council also studied the selection and formation of the personnel in the service of the Holy See, both clerics and members of the lay faithful. Officials and superiors from the Secretariat of State, from the Council for the Economy, and from the Labor Office of the Holy See took part in the discussions. Archbishops Angelo Becciu, Paul Richard Gallagher, and Jan Romeo Pawłowski were present on behalf of the Secretariat of State. For the Council for the Economy, in addition to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Prof. Franco Vermiglio, a member of the Council, spoke at the meeting. Bishop Giorgio Corbellini and a lawyer, Salvatore Vecchio addressed the cardinals for the Labor Office.

Another important theme treated by the council was the relationship between the Episcopal Conferences and the Roman Curia. Cardinal George Pell gave an update on the work of the Secretariat for the Economy, of which he is the President, with special attention to the review of the budget for the current year. Cardinal Seán O’Malley updated the council on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of minors, focussing especially on the programme of global education, the last plenary assembly, and the visits to various dicasteries.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place June 12-14.

C9 CARDINALS EXPRESS FULL SUPPORT FOR PERSON, TEACHING OF POPE – AT ANGELUS, POPE LOOKS AT MURDER, ADULTERY, OATH-TAKING

C9 CARDINALS EXPRESS FULL SUPPORT FOR PERSON, TEACHING OF POPE

The Cardinals Council today began its eighteenth session. They will be meeting until Wednesday of this week. At the beginning of this morning’s meetings at the Domus Sanctae Marthae Cardinal, Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the group, after greeting the Holy Father, thanked him on behalf of all the Members for his words in the Christmas address to the Roman Curia last December 22, 2016, expressing gratitude for the Pope’s encouragement of the work of the Council of Cardinals. Regarding recent events, the Council of Cardinals expressed its full support for the work of the Pope, while ensuring full adhesion and support of His person and His Magisterium.

December 2016 address: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2016/12/22/0927/02060.html

AT ANGELUS, POPE LOOKS AT MURDER, ADULTERY, OATH-TAKING

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered a meditation on the Sermon on the Mount, speaking about how Jesus wishes to help his listeners to reflect on the Mosaic Law.

“What was said in the ancient Covenant was not everything,” the Holy Father explained. “Jesus came to fulfil and promulgate God’s law definitively, to the last iota. He manifests its original purposes and fulfils the authentic aspects, and He does all this through His preaching and, even more so, with the offer of Himself on the cross. In this way Jesus teaches how to carry out fully the will of God, with a ‘higher justice’ than that of the scribes and the Pharisees. A justice inspired by love, charity and mercy, and therefore capable of realising the substance of the commandments, avoiding the risk of formalism. Formalism: I can do this, I can’t do that; I can up to this point, up to here I can’t… No. It is more, more”.

With regard to the commandment, “You shall not kill, He affirms that it is violated not only by effective homicide, but also by behaviour that offends the dignity of the person, including insulting words. “Certainly, these do not have the same gravity and culpability as killing, but they are on the same line, as they are its premises and reveal the same malevolence,” the Pope observed.

“Jesus invites us not to establish a scale of offence, but rather to consider them all harmful, inasmuch as they are motivated by the intention to do harm to our neighbour.

And Jesus gives us an example. Insulting: we are used to insulting; it is like saying ‘hello’ And this is along the same lines as killing. When we insult our brother, we kill him in his heart. Please, do not insult! We gain nothing by insulting.”

Another fulfilment is related to matrimonial law. “Adultery was considered a violation of a man’s right of ownership over a woman. Jesus instead goes to the root of the evil. Just as one arrives at homicide through insults and offence, one arrives at adultery through the intentions of possession with regard to a woman other than one’s wife. Adultery, like theft, corruption and other sins, is conceived first within and, once the wrong decision is made in the heart, it is made manifest in concrete behaviour. And Jesus says: he who looks at a woman who is not his own with the spirit of possession is an adulterer in his heart. He has already set out on the path to adultery. Let us think a little about this: the evil thoughts that head in this direction”.

”Jesus also says to His disciples not to take an oath, in as much as the oath is a sign of the insecurity and duplicity of human relations. God’s authority is exploited to guarantee our human affairs. Instead, we are called to establish among us, in our families and in our communities, an atmosphere of clarity and mutual trust, so that we can be considered sincere without resorting to higher interventions to be believed. Diffidence and mutual suspicion always threaten serenity!”

“May the Virgin Mary, woman of docile listening and joyous obedience”, he concluded, “help us draw ever closer to the Gospel, to be Christians of substance, not superficial. “And this is possible with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Who enables us to do everything with love, and thereby to carry out fully the will of God”.

C9 CARDINALS FOCUS ON MISSIONARY THRUST, SYNODALITY – POPE DEDICATES AUDIENCE TO HOPE, THANKS WELL-WISHERS FOR BIRTHDAY GREETINGS

Pope Francis tweeted today: Now is the time to unleash the creativity of mercy, to bring about new undertakings, the fruit of grace.

Some special news: In a video that lasts only seconds but is quite meaningful, Pope Francis wished Merry Christmas in sign language to all those hard of hearing, asking them to pray for him. The video can be found on the Twitter account of Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, one of the Holy Father’s private secretaries. Msgr. Yoannis is Coptic Catholic and is from Egypt. Previously, in the May 26 general audience, Pope Francis greeted the deaf in sign language. About 60 people from Italy’s national association for the deaf were present that day. (https://twitter.com/AbunaYoannis)

C9 CARDINALS FOCUS ON MISSIONARY THRUST, SYNODALITY

(Vatican Radio) The Council of 9 Cardinals met this week in the Vatican from Monday, December 12 to Wednesday, December 14. Holy See Press Office director, Greg Burke held a briefing on Wednesday to inform journalists of the work done during the sessions.

c9-cardinals

Two key issues emerged as guidelines for the reform of the Curial dicasteries: missionary thrust and synodality.

The cardinals have concluded their study of other departments (Doctrine of the Faith, Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Causes of Saints and Promotion of Christian Unity) and delivered their final proposal to the Holy Father.

Considerable time was devoted to the projects of the two new dicasteries.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell spoke of the Congregation for Laity, Family and Life as of which he is Prefect. The discussion focused on the role of the laity, with an invitation to all to re-read the letter of Pope Francis to Card. Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Cardinal Peter Turkson presented the work plan for the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, which combines four offices: Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Health Care, and Migrants and Itinerant People. Card. Turkson was accompanied by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, who explained the new department as an implementation of the conciliar Constitution Gaudium et Spes.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley presented the most recent activities of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, while Cardinal George Pell reported on the latest developments related to the Secretariat for the Economy.

The afternoon of Wednesday, December 14th, was to be devoted to a presentation by Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, detailing the steps taken and those coming for the reform of the Holy See’s communications apparatus, with particular attention to personnel training.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for February 13 – 15, 2017.

POPE DEDICATES AUDIENCE TO HOPE, THANKS WELL-WISHERS FOR BIRTHDAY GREETINGS

Pope Francis Wednesday at the general audience in the Paul VI Hall continued his new catechesis on the virtue of Christian hope, saying the Kingdom brought by Jesus at his birth calls us to be joyful heralds in a world that “yearns for justice, truth, and peace.”

Citing the words of the prophet Isaiah: “How beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of the one bringing good news,” the Pope said these words help us prepare for the coming feast of Christmas by opening ourselves to the hope of salvation. Isaiah, said Francis, “calls God’s people to rejoice, for the Lord is near, bringing freedom from exile and the promise of renewal and redemption for the faithful “remnant” who continued to hope in his word.

The Holy Father explained that God’s kingdom means that, “God has not abandoned His people and has not let them be overcome by evil, because He is faithful and His grace is greater than sin… And the fulfillment of so much love will be exactly the Kingdom established by Jesus, that Kingdom of pardon and peace, which we celebrate at Christmas and which is manifested conclusively in Easter.”

“These,” he said, “are the reasons for our hope. When all seems over, when in the face of so many negative realities faith grows weary and the temptation to say that all has lost meaning comes, rather, [look to] the good news brought by those quick feet: God is coming to make something new, to establish a kingdom of peace. God has ‘extended His arm’ and brings liberty and consolation.”

“This,” he concluded, “is the surprise of a child God, of a poor God, of a weak God, of a God who abandons His greatness in order to draw near to each of us.”

At the end of the weekly audience, in off the cuff remarks during his greetings to Italian pilgrims, Pope Francis thanked those who had sent greetings and best wishes to him for his upcoming 80th birthday on Saturday.

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He also joked that that, in his native Argentina, it is thought that, “Those, who offer birthday congratulations ahead of time, are jinxes!”