POPE FRANCIS: JOURNEY TO UAE PART OF THE “SURPRISES” OF GOD – FEAST OF ST PAUL VI TO BE CELEBRATED MAY 29 AS OPTIONAL MEMORIAL – DICASTERY FOR PROMOTING INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCES WEBSITE

Does excommunication remain a viable option in today’s Catholic Church?
Join EWTN’s Vice President of Theology Colin Donovan & the Roundtable crew as they discuss the use of sanctions, such as excommunication, to protect the unity of the People of God, this Friday on Theology Roundtable, 3:00 PM Eastern on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network.

POPE FRANCIS: JOURNEY TO UAE PART OF THE “SURPRISES” OF GOD

As traditionally happens after a Pope has been on an apostolic journey, Francis dedicated his weekly audience catechesis to his just-completed trip to the UAE – the United Arab Emirates.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began, “I have just completed a brief visit to the United Arab Emirates, brief but important, for it marked a step forward in inter-religious dialogue and in the commitment to promoting peace in the world.”

He explained that his trip “was the first papal visit to the Arabian peninsula and took place eight hundred years after Saint Francis of Assisi visited Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil. The providence of God wished to see a Pope named Francis make such a journey, and I thought often of the Saint for it helped me keep the Gospel and the love of Jesus Christ close to my heart.”

He then thanks his many hosts, “the Crown Prince, the President, the Vice President and all the Authorities who welcomed me, and Bishop Paul Hinder for preparing the event with the Catholic community. My affectionate thanks go to the priests, religious and lay faithful who enliven the Christian presence in that land.

“Beyond all the speeches,” the Holy Father went on, “one further step was taken in Abu Dhabi when the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and I signed the Document on Human Fraternity. There we affirm the common vocation of all men and women to be brothers and sisters as children of God, we reject every form of violence – especially that committed in the name of religion – and we dedicate ourselves to defending authentic values and peace in the world. Let us pray that the seeds sown during the visit may bear much fruit according to his holy will.”

After summaries of the papal catechesis and greetings in many languages to the faithful, Pope Francis issued an appeal:

“Last Saturday, near the archipelago of the Bahamas, a boat sank with dozens of migrants coming from Haiti and looking for hope and a future of peace. My affectionate thought goes to the families suffering from the pain, as well as to the Haitian people struck by this new tragedy. I invite you to join my prayer for those who have disappeared so dramatically and for the injured.”

FEAST OF ST. PAUL VI TO BE CELEBRATED MAY 29 AS OPTIONAL MEMORIAL

From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 25 January 2019, on the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle.
Signed by Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect, + Arthur Roche, Archbishop Secretary:

The decree published today began by noting that “Jesus Christ, the fullness of humanity, living and working in the Church, invites all people to a transforming encounter with Him, who is “the way, the truth and the life”. This is the journey of the Saints. Paul VI made it following the example of the Apostle whose name he assumed at the moment when the Holy Spirit chose him as Successor of Peter.” (CNA photo)

It went out to outline the saintly life and work of Paul VI, and continued: “God, the Shepherd and Guide of all the faithful, entrusts his pilgrim Church through the ages, to those whom he himself has established as Vicars of his Son. Among these, Paul VI shines out as one who united in himself the pure faith of Saint Peter and the missionary zeal of Saint Paul. His consciousness of being the Successor of Peter is evident when we recall that on 10 June 1969, during a visit to the World Council of Churches in Geneva, he introduced himself by saying “My name is Peter”. Nevertheless, he also acknowledged by the name he chose the mission for which he had been elected…..”

The substance of the decree states: “Having considered this Pope’s holiness of life, witnessed to by his works and words, and having taken account of the great influence of his apostolic ministry for the Church throughout the whole world, Pope Francis, assenting to the petitions and desires of the People of God, has decreed that the celebration of Pope Saint Paul VI, should be inserted into the Roman Calendar on 29 May with the rank of optional memorial.

“This new memorial will be inserted into all Calendars and Liturgical Books for the celebration of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours; the liturgical texts to be adopted, attached to this Decree, must be translated, approved and, after the confirmation of this Dicastery, be published by the Episcopal Conferences.”

DICASTERY FOR PROMOTING INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCES WEBSITE

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Develoment today announced the release of its website http://www.humandevelopment.va that contains news, information, publications and useful tools related to the Dicastery’s activities and mission.

It provided link to two videos the dicastery has produced aimed at introducing and spreading the Church’s understanding of Integral Human Development. “We are proud to share them both with you,” said the dicastery announcement, “with the hope that you will like and share them through your social media.”

Here are the links that you can enjoy, “like” and “share”!

http://www.humandevelopment.va/en/il-dicastero/chi-siamo.html

http://www.humandevelopment.va/en.html

VATICAN DOCUMENT: MONEY MUST SERVE, NOT RULE – CHURCH LEADERS ASK PRAYERS FOR IRISH REFERENDUM ON ABORTION

Following is a brief and very good summary of a somewhat complex document presented today in the Holy See Press Office by Vaticannews.va and Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges. Hopefully our leaders in Congress and banking institutions and other financial and economic bodies will see this document and read it attentively. That really sounds like wishful thinking, doesn’t it!

The second story comes from Ireland via a CNA/EWTN colleague.

VATICAN DOCUMENT: MONEY MUST SERVE, NOT RULE

Entitled ‘Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones: Considerations for an Ethical Discernment regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System’ the new document has been prepared by two major offices of the Holy See.
By Susy Hodges

The 15-page page document, jointly prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, was unveiled on Thursday at a news conference in the Holy See Press Office.

Love for integral good: the key to authentic development

The document begins by stressing the Church’s concern for the integral development of every person, saying “Love for the integral good, inseparable from love for the truth, is the key to authentic development.”

Turning to the state of the world’s economy, the document calls for more regulation of markets and financial systems, saying economic crises show they are not able to govern themselves and need a strong injection of morality and ethics. It also urges universities and business schools to educate the next generation of business leaders about ethics and not just profits.

The document goes on to say that profit for the sake of profit and not for the greater good is “illegitimate” and condemns what it called a “reckless and amoral culture of waste” that has marginalized “great masses of the world’s population, deprived them of decent labour and left them without any means of escape.”

Obsolete criteria continue to govern the world

The document also expresses regret over what it calls a failed opportunity to correct the failings within the world’s economic-financial systems.

“The recent financial crisis could have been the occasion to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and a new regulation of financial activities that would neutralize the predatory and speculative tendencies and acknowledge the value of the actual economy.”

While acknowledging “many positive efforts at various levels,” the document speaks of its regret that “there does not seem to be any inclination to rethink the obsolete criteria that continue to govern the world.”

On the contrary, it writes, “the response seems at times like a return to the heights of myopic egoism” that excludes any consideration of the common good or a concern “to spread wealth” and eliminate “the inequality so pronounced today.”

Money must serve, not rule!

What is at stake, said the document, is the authentic well-being of a majority of the men and women of our planet who are at risk of being “excluded and marginalized” from development while “a minority exploits and reserves for itself substantial resources and wealth.”

Warning that “selfishness makes everyone pay a high price,” the document says that if we want “the real well-being of humanity, money must serve, not rule!”

CHURCH LEADERS ASK PRAYERS FOR IRISH REFERENDUM ON ABORTION

Dublin, Ireland, May 17, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- With a referendum vote that could legalize abortion in Ireland just days away, the country’s clergy and Church leaders are asking the world for prayers.

In a video message posted to YouTube, Irish priest Father Marius O’Reilly appeals to Catholics and Christians around the world to pray for the country of Ireland ahead of the vote, particularly through praying the rosary and offering Masses.

O’Reilly noted that while other countries have legalized abortion through legislation or court decisions, “Ireland would be the first country in the world where the people would legalize abortion,” he said.

“We can’t allow that to happen. And so I’m making an appeal to you today – please come to our assistance. Pray the rosary for Ireland. Please have Masses offered for Ireland,” he said.

On May 25, Irish citizens will vote whether they want to repeal the country’s eighth amendment, which recognizes the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child. Under current law, the practice of abortion in Ireland is illegal, unless the mother’s health is deemed to be endangered. Pro-life Irish citizens are encouraging a “no” vote on the referendum.

The eighth amendment was passed in Ireland in 1983, with upwards of 67 percent voter-approval. It reads, in part: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

Despite the high percentage of the population – 78 percent – that identifies as Catholic, polling has predicted that the vote will be close.

Two months ago, EWTN Ireland started a 54-day rosary novena campaign for the “affirmation of the inestimable value of every human life.”

The campaign’s website urges “all people of good will to join together in prayer in defence of unborn babies and their mothers. All those professing faith, and those professing secular values, are invited to join as one voice on behalf of the unborn babies and their mothers: to affirm the life of the most vulnerable who may be classed as terminally ill, disabled or ‘unwanted’.”

A Christian prayer and a secular affirmation were also included on the campaign’s site.

EWTN Ireland as well as many clergy are particularly urging Catholics to pray a nine-day rosary novena leading up to the vote, starting on Thursday, May 17 and ending on Friday, May 25, the day of the referendum.

The novena website Pray More Novenas, which sends out daily reminders for various prayers, has also begun a novena through the intercession of the Irish Our Lady of Knock specifically for the abortion referendum.

There is also a prayer and fasting initiative, inspired by Sr. Briege McKenna (O.S.C.) that calls for Masses and days of prayer and “medically safe” fasting to be offered for the “Reparation, Conversions of hearts and Protection of the 8th amendment.”

Pro-life group Human Life International has asked for the offering of 1,000 Masses for the referendum, and has a form on their website where the Masses offered for this intention may be added to the calendar.

In his video, Fr. O’Reilly recalled Pope John Paul II’s 1979 visit to the country, during which he urged Irish citizens to defend life.

“He said to the Irish people ‘you must protect life;’ he knew what was coming down the road. And so the Irish people took this very, very seriously and rosary crusades began all around the country,” O’Reilly said.

This also led to the proposal of the constitutional amendment that is currently in place, which gave equal protection to mother and child “so that Ireland would be a country that in the constitution would say that the unborn child has a right to life.”

“This was an incredible gift from God for our country because it meant that the politicians couldn’t just bring in abortion when they wanted. They would have to put it to the people,” he added. “And so we fought it for years and years and now in 2018 we’re being asked to vote on abortion.”

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, a Catholic Irish-American men’s fraternity, has asked its members to set aside May 18 as a day of prayer in solidarity with the Save the 8th Campaign.

“Every prayer for a ‘No’ vote is a compassionate plea to spare Ireland the pain America has suffered for 45 years,” Ancient Order of Hibernians National President James F. McKay said, alluding to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that mandated legal abortion across the country.

He encouraged prayers invoking the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Fatima to “save Ireland’s mothers and unborn from the evils of abortion.”

He also encouraged immediate social media outreach as well as discussions with family and friends about “the importance of protecting the unborn.”

Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb. used his May 18 column in the Southern Nebraska Register to ask readers to join him in prayer that the people of Ireland will choose life.

“I pray that the people of Ireland will see that the legalization of abortion in countries around the world has not made women free. That abortion has only caused more violence, more ruin, and more despair,” Bishop Conley said.

The bishop said the Catholic faith “has long given the Irish people an acute and attentive sense of human dignity, human rights, and justice,” but Ireland has secularized in part due to “Church leaders who failed to give authentic and faithful witness to the Gospel.”

Conley, who spent a semester in Ireland as a 20-year-old recent Catholic convert, said “my introduction to the day-to-day practice of my newfound Catholic faith was in Ireland.”

“It has now been over 40 years since I spent those four delightful months in Ireland, but I still remember vividly the strong faith of the Irish people and how Catholicism ran deep in the Irish soil and soul. I owe so much to the Irish people for nurturing me in my Catholic faith. And we, as a country, owe so much to the Catholic Church in Ireland for bringing that same faith to these shores.”

VATICAN MESSAGE FOR 2017 WORLD TOURISM DAY

Pope Francis tweeted today: We effectively do good when we do it without seeking reward and in the concrete situations of everyday life.

VATICAN MESSAGE FOR 2017 WORLD TOURISM DAY

“Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development.”

The official celebration of World Tourism Day 2017, organized by the UNWTO, will take place in Doha, Qatar, on September 27, 2017 on the theme “Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development.” This is in the framework of the United Nation’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, has released a message on the theme selected by the WTO for 2017. This is the first such message from the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, as part of its mission.

“When we say tourism,” says the dicastery message, “we are talking about a phenomenon of major importance, both in light of the number of people involved (travellers and workers) and for the many benefits that it can bring to society (economic, cultural and social), but also given the risks and dangers that it can create in many areas.

“According to the World Tourism Organization’s latest barometer, for the year 2016, the number of international tourist arrivals is around 1.2 billion. Worldwide, the sector accounts for 10% of GDP and 7% of total exports, also considering that 1 out of 11 jobs are in tourism. It therefore occupies an important place in the economies of individual states and in policies that focus on inclusive development and environmental sustainability globally.”

“According to the Church’s social doctrine, true development ‘cannot be restricted to economic growth alone’. In fact, ‘to be authentic, it must be well rounded’; that is, ‘it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man’, as the Encyclical Populorum progressio notes. … For the Church, the concept of integrality, when connected to the expression human development, also includes the United Nations’ idea of sustainability, and embraces all aspects of life: social, economic, political, cultural, and spiritual, making them elements in a single synthesis, the human person.”

Tourism “must be responsible, and not destructive or detrimental to the environment or to the socio-cultural context of the locality. Moreover, it must be particularly respectful of the population and their heritage, with a view to safeguarding personal dignity and labour rights, especially those of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Holiday time cannot be a pretext either for irresponsibility or for exploitation.”

“In its 2017 Resolution, the United Nations recognizes ‘the important role of sustainable tourism as a positive instrument towards the eradication of poverty, the protection of the environment, the improvement of quality of life and the economic empowerment of women and youth and its contribution to the three dimensions of sustainable development, especially in developing countries’.”

“…we Christians want to offer our contribution so that tourism can assist in the development of peoples, especially the most disadvantaged. We therefore propose our reflection. We recognize God as the creator of the universe and father of all human beings, and He who makes us brothers. We must put the human person as the focus of our attention; we recognize the dignity of each person and the relationships among persons; we must share the principle of the common destiny of the human family and the universal destination of earthly goods. The human being acts not as a master, but as a ‘responsible steward’.”

“The Church is making its own contribution, launching initiatives that really place tourism in the service of the integral development of the person. This is why we talk about tourism with a human touch, which is based on projects of community tourism, cooperation, solidarity, and an appreciation of the great artistic heritage which is an authentic way of beauty.

At the United Nations, Pope Francis stated: “The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman […]. This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature’.”

Full Message in English here: http://www.news.va/en/news/vatican-releases-message-for-world-tourism-day-201

IN BRIEF

Don’t forget to tune in to “At Home with Jim and Joy” on Mondays and Thursdays at 2pm ET. I bring some commentary or news from Rome each week to both shows. If you watch EWTN in Europe, the Monday shows airs on Tuesday at 10am and Wednesday at 6 pm. The Thursday show airs Friday at 10 and Saturday at 6 pm.

IN BRIEF

VATICAN WELCOMES THREE NEW SYRIAN FAMILIES. They have found shelter and welcome in the Vatican as part of an ongoing effort to provide the means and the tools for integration and a new life of hope for those fleeing conflict and persecution. All told, 13 people from two Christian families and one Muslim family have been able make their homes in three Vatican-owned apartments recently vacated by other refugees who have since moved on to more permanent situations. Two of the families fled violence and discrimination because of their Christian faith. They arrived in Italy in March. The refugees hosted in the Vatican have all been able to travel safely to Italy thanks to the “humanitarian corridor” project promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy and the Waldesian Table. (http://www.news.va/en/news/the-vatican-welcomes-new-refugee-families-from-syr)

POPE SAYS IT IS TIME TO END “WORSENING TRAGEDY OF CHILD trafficking and slavery. He said this in a Message sent Monday to a Vienna “Trafficking in Persons” conference. The Pope’s words came in a message read out by Fr. Michael Czerny, SJ, under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He was in Vienna at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)’s “17th Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference.” In hisMessage, Pope Francis spoke about the goal of prevention: “It should be acknowledged that very little has been done to address the “why” of many young people being tricked or sold into trafficking and slavery.” He said, “Demand and supply, in turn, are deeply rooted in the three great issues of conflicts and wars, economic privation and natural disasters, or what the victims experience as extreme poverty, underdevelopment, exclusion, unemployment and lack of access to education.” Protection against human trafficking, the Pope said, begins with protection of the family. (http://www.news.va/en/news/popes-message-to-osce-human-trafficking-conference): Click here to read the full text of Pope Francis’ message to the OSCE Conference.

CARDINAL LEONARDO SANDRI URGES GENEROSITY FOR ANNUAL GOOD FRIDAY COLLECTION. The cardinal, who heads the Congregation for Oriental Churches, called on Catholics to be generous in their supòport of projects in the Holy Land. In an interview with SIR, the news agency of the Italian Bishops Conference the cardinal talks about the importance of contributing to the upkeep of the sacred sites, while at the same time supporting the search for peace in the land where Jesus lived. Faced with the events that “take place in this troubled region of the world”, the cardinal says, there is a risk that we see them as unconnected to our own lives, “as if we had no responsibility.”  (http://www.news.va/en/news/card-sandri-on-good-friday-collection-for-the-holy)

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

THE RESPONSE TO PHENOMENON OF MIGRATION: WELCOME, PROTECT, PROMOTE, INTEGRATE – VATICAN DELEGATION TO ATTEND SEMINAR AT AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY

Pope Francis tweeted today: God knows better than we do about what we need. We must have faith, because his ways are different from ours.

And yesterday: If evil is contagious, so is goodness. Let us be infected by goodness and let us spread goodness!

THE RESPONSE TO PHENOMENON OF MIGRATION: WELCOME, PROTECT, PROMOTE, INTEGRATE

This morning the Holy Father welcomed the participants of an International Forum on Migration and Peace taking place in Rome, and told them the political community, civil society and the Church must offer a shared response to the complexities of the phenomenon of migration today, a response that “may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.” (photo news.va)

francis-migrants

The two-day forum has been organized by the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development in collaboration with the Scalbrini International Migration Network. Its theme is: “Integration and Development: From Reaction to Action.”  Francis said “development and integration were the very reason I wanted to establish the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, with a Section concerned exclusively for migrants, refugees and the victims of human trafficking.”

Pope Francis singled out particularly vulnerable group of migrants, exiles and refugees:  “children and young people who are forced to live far from their homeland and who are separated from their loved ones.”

“The beginning of this third millennium,” he stated, “is very much characterized by migratory movement which, in terms of origin, transit and destination, involves nearly every part of the world.  Unfortunately, in the majority of cases this movement is forced, caused by conflict, natural disasters, persecution, climate change, violence, extreme poverty and inhumane living conditions: The sheer number of people migrating from one continent to another, or shifting places within their own countries and geographical areas, is striking. 

To welcome.  “Rejection is an attitude we all share; it makes us see our neighbour not as a brother or sister to be accepted, but as unworthy of our attention, a rival, or someone to be bent to our will” (Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 12 January 2015).  Faced with this kind of rejection, rooted ultimately in self-centredness and amplified by populist rhetoric, what is needed is a change of attitude, to overcome indifference and to counter fears with a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors.  For those who flee conflicts and terrible persecutions, often trapped within the grip of criminal organisations who have no scruples, we need to open accessible and secure humanitarian channels.  A responsible and dignified welcome of our brothers and sisters begins by offering them decent and appropriate shelter.  The enormous gathering together of persons seeking asylum and of refugees has not produced positive results.  Instead these gatherings have created new situations of vulnerability and hardship.  More widespread programmes of welcome, already initiated in different places, seem to favour a personal encounter and allow for greater quality of service and increased guarantees of success.

To protect.  My predecessor, Pope Benedict, highlighted the fact that the migratory experience often makes people more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and violence (cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 18 October 2005).  We are speaking about millions of migrant workers, male and female – and among these particularly men and women in irregular situations – of those exiled and seeking asylum, and of those who are victims of trafficking.  Defending their inalienable rights, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties from which no one can be exempted.  Protecting these brothers and sisters is a moral imperative which translates into adopting juridical instruments, both international and national, that must be clear and relevant; implementing just and far reaching political choices; prioritising constructive processes, which perhaps are slower, over immediate results of consensus; implementing timely and humane programmes in the fight against “the trafficking of human flesh” which profits off others’ misfortune; coordinating the efforts of all actors, among which, you may be assured will always be the Church.

To promote.  Protecting is not enough.  What is required is the promotion of an integral human development of migrants, exiles and refugees.  This “takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation” (Apostolic Letter Humanam Progressionem, 17 August 2016).  Development, according to the social doctrine of the Church (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 373-374), is an undeniable right of every human being.  As such, it must be guaranteed by ensuring the necessary conditions for its exercise, both in the individual and social context, providing fair access to fundamental goods for all people and offering the possibility of choice and growth.  Also here a coordinated effort is needed, one which envisages all the parties involved: from the political community to civil society, from international organisations to religious institutions.  The human promotion of migrants and their families begins with their communities of origin.  That is where such promotion should be guaranteed, joined to the right of being able to emigrate, as well as the right to not be constrained to emigrate.”

To integrate.  Integration, which is neither assimilation nor incorporation, is a two-way process, rooted essentially in the joint recognition of the other’s cultural richness: it is not the superimposing of one culture over another, nor mutual isolation, with the insidious and dangerous risk of creating ghettoes.  Concerning those who arrive and who are duty bound not to close themselves off from the culture and traditions of the receiving country, respecting above all its laws, the family dimension of the process of integration must not be overlooked: for this reason I feel the need to reiterate the necessity, often presented by the Magisterium (cf. John Paul II, Message for World Migration Day, 15 August 1986), of policies directed at favouring and benefiting the reunion of families.  With regard to indigenous populations, they must be supported, by helping them to be sufficiently aware of and open to processes of integration which, though not always simple and immediate, are always essential and, for the future, indispensable.  This requires specific programmes, which foster significant encounters with others.  Furthermore, for the Christian community, the peaceful integration of persons of various cultures is, in some way, a reflection of its catholicity, since unity, which does not nullify ethnic and cultural diversity, constitutes a part of the life of the Church, who in the Spirit of Pentecost is open to all and desires to embrace all (cf. John Paul II, Message for World Migration Day, 5 August 1987).

The Pope closed his lengthy address by highlighting “a duty of solidarity.  In the face of tragedies which take the lives of so many migrants and refugees – conflicts, persecutions, forms of abuse, violence, death – expressions of empathy and compassion cannot help but spontaneously well-up. ‘Where is your brother’? (Gen 4:9): this question which God asks of man since his origins, involves us, especially today with regard to our brothers and sisters who are migrating: “This is not a question directed to others; it is a question directed to me, to you, to each of us” (Homily at the “Arena” Sports Camp, Salina Quarter, Lampedusa, 8 July 2013).  Solidarity is born precisely from the capacity to understand the needs of our brothers and sisters who are in difficulty and to take responsibility for these needs.  Upon this, in short, is based the sacred value of hospitality, present in religious traditions.  For us Christians, hospitality offered to the weary traveller is offered to Jesus Christ himself, through the newcomer: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35).  The duty of solidarity is to counter the throwaway culture and give greater attention to those who are weakest, poorest and most vulnerable.  Thus “a change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 5 August 2013).

VATICAN DELEGATION TO ATTEND SEMINAR AT AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council For Interreligious Dialogue has announced that council president, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, accompanied by Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, secretary, and Msgr. Khaled Akasheh, head of the Office for Islam, will be in Cairo, Egypt, on February 22-23, to participate at a seminar at the University of Al-Azhar, with the theme: “The role of al-Azhar al-Sharif and of the Vatican in countering the phenomena of fanaticism, extremism and violence in the name of religion.”

The cardinal president will lead the Catholic delegation, which will also include Archbishop Bruno Musarò, apostolic nuncio to Egypt.

cardinal-tauran

After the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Professor Ahmad Al-Tayyib on 23 May 2016, the Secretary of the Dicastery has travelled to Cairo several times, where he participated in many meetings and preliminary preparations for this event.

This meeting will conclude on the vigil of the anniversary of the visit of Pope St. John Paul II to Al-Azhar, which took place on February 24, 2000.

 

POPE EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR NEW DICASTERY TO ACTIVATE STATUTE

POPE EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR NEW DICASTERY TO ACTIVATE STATUTE

A Note sent out today by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development explains that Holy Father has allowed this new Vatican office more time to fulfill the re-organization requirements of moving from four pontifical councils to becoming one single office. The Note was dated January 26, 2017.

This communiqué notes that this Dicastery came into being last August 2016 with Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter motu proprio Humanam progressionem. This was accompanied by what was called “an experimental Statute” that would “guide and orient its activity.”

On January 1, 2017, the new Dicastery was to “enter into function,” at which time the four pontifical councils, whose duties were taken over by the Dicastery, would cease to exist. Those councils were Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Ministry for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and the Ministry for Health Care Workers. It was noted that, “within the new Dicastery a section was created that deals specifically with matters concerning refugees and migrants that is in contact with and receives instructions from the Holy Father.” (ANSA photo of Pope and migrants on Lampedusa island)

pope-migrabts-lampedusa

“Given that the time allowed for this reorganization was very narrow,” continues the Note, “the Holy Father has extended the time, granting until Easter 2017 for the full activation of the statute.”

The Note explains that the Dicastery “is presided over by a Prefect, assisted by a Secretary and at least one Under-secretary, who can also be faithful lay people.” The prefect for this Dicastery is Cardinal Peter Turkson. Two under-secretaries have been nominated, “whose specific duty is to accompany the section for migrants and refugees. Until others are named, Cardinal Turkson has decided to main, in the vest of ‘delegates’ those who had headed the four councils. Thus, at least temporarily, categories for “secretary delegate” and under-secretary delegates” have been created.

cardinal-turkson

The Dicastery communiqué indicates that, at least in a transitory fashion, the offices occupied by the four councils in the San Callisto building in Trastevere or on Via della Conciliazione continue to function, as do the current phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses and social profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channels (which the Note listed). A general email address has been activated. All of this will be gradually modified in coming months as a single office is eventually formed.

HOPE SHOULD COME FROM TRUST IN GOD’S WORD, NOT FALSE IDOLS – MEDIA CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BY VATICAN MIGRATION, REFUGEE OFFICE – TWO PRIESTS ATTACKED IN ST. MARY MAJOR – 800 DEAD, 16 CHURCHES DESTROYED IN NIGERIA BY TERRORIST GROUP

HOPE SHOULD COME FROM TRUST IN GOD’S WORD, NOT FALSE IDOLS

Pope Francis continued his series of catecheses on Christian hope at his Wednesday audience in the Paul VI Hall and stressed that true hope is born of trust in God’s word, not in false idols such as wealth, power, beauty or even fortune tellers.

At one point, he departed from his prepared catechesis about false idols to tell a story about fortune tellers in a park in his native Buenos Aires. He said he used to walk through the park and see countless very small tables where these seers or fortune tellers were seated, talking to individuals.

Francis said: “It was always the same story: there’s a woman in your life, a man will come, everything will be just fine.” The Pope lamented that people paid these seers to get a sense of security, “ a false sense of security, one of – and pardon me! – stupidity.” He said it was so sad that people could feel better, more hopeful, with such false idols rather than having hope in Jesus Christ: “How very sad we do not trust Him as much!”

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Our hope, said the Holy Father, “must be rooted in what can actually help in living and giving meaning to our existence,” not in illusions that are both useless and meaningless.

He noted that, “hope in God demands strength and perseverance, whereas these false gods promise an easy security, a future we can control. The Psalmist denounces this kind of idolatry, stating that those who put their trust in images that are the work of human hands, will come to be like them: spiritually blind, deaf and insensible.”

The false idols that the Pope mentioned, “with their illusion of eternity and omnipotence,” include values such as physical beauty, he said. This is not bad itself, but “when it becomes an idol to which we sacrifice everything, they are all realities that confuse the mind and the heart.”

The Pope interrupted himself once again to tell a story. When we have false idols and don’t trust in the Lord, “It’s terrible, it hurts the soul what I heard one time years ago in the diocese of Buenos Aires: a woman, a good woman, beautiful, very, very beautiful and who bragged about her beauty, said with great naturalness, ‘Yes, I had to have an abortion because my figure is so important’.He said this surely puts one on the wrong path and does not lead to lasting happiness.

“God is always greater than we are,” said Francis, “and we, created in his image and likeness, cannot reduce him to our size or fabricate other gods, made in our own image and tailored to our desires. By trusting in God’s word and hoping in his promises, we become more and more like him, sharing in his life and rejoicing in his provident care, revealed in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus his Son.”

At the end of the catechesis, the Pope said, “Now I must tell you something that I don’t want to tell you.” He held up a red audience ticket, saying tickets to papal events, whether in St. Peter’s Square or the audience hall are always entirely free, noting that the tickets say this in six languages. Anyone who wants you to pay for a ticvket, said Francis, is a fraud, devious and a delinquent.

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He called weekly audiences a chance “to talk to the Pope, to visit the Pope. If someone says you must pay, they are ripping you off. Beware – tickets are free!”

MEDIA CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BY VATICAN MIGRATION, REFUGEE OFFICE

The Migration and Refugee Section of the new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development has announced it is launching its first media campaign.

Although the Dicastery is run by Cardinal Peter Turkson – who had been serving as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace – the Migration and Refugee Section is being led for the time being by Pope Francis himself, to show his particular concern during the ongoing refugee crisis.

The new media campaign is being launched to coincide with the 103rd World Day for Migrants and Refugees, which is observed 15 January 2017.

From 12 to 15 January 2017, the tweets of Pope Francis will focus on migrants and refugees, and will link directly to the Section’s Facebook page, which will present a brief story and reflection relevant to each day’s topic.

The media accounts of the new section are listed below
Twitter Accounts:
English – https://twitter.com/M_RSection
Italian – https://twitter.com/M_RSezione
Spanish – https://twitter.com/M_RSeccion
French – https://twitter.com/M_RSection_Fr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MandRSection/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/migrants-&-refugees-section

TWO PRIESTS ATTACKED IN ST. MARY MAJOR

A man entered the sacristy of a Roman basilica on January 7 and used a broken bottle to attack two priests.

Worshippers at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore heard shouts from the sacristy as a 42-year-old man cut the faces of Father Angelo Gaeta, the sacristan, and Father Adolfo Ralf. Police soon apprehended the perpetrator.

The victims, according to Italy’s state radio and television network, are priests of the Franciscan Friars of Immaculate who have been critical of the institute’s founder, Father Stefano Maria Manelli. The network reported that the attacker’s motive was unknown and that he may have been psychologically disturbed. He was heard to have said, “I am misunderstood.”

800 DEAD, 16 CHURCHES DESTROYED IN NIGERIA BY TERRORIST GROUP

A report from Nigeria from Fides News service, an agency of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples states that over 800 people have been killed and 16 churches destroyed by the terrorist group of Fulani herdsmen.

Bishop Joseph Danlami Bagobiri of Kafanchan in the state of Kaduna told Fides, “In the last three months attacks have increased carried out by the Fulani Herdsmen Terrorist (FHT) in more than half of the territory of the southern State of Kaduna.” Bishop Bagobiri was speaking in Rome where he was visiting the Italian headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

“In the West, this group is almost unheard of, he said, “but it has been responsible since September of fires in 53 villages, of the death of 808 persons, the wounding of 57 others, the destruction of 1,422 houses and 16 churches.

He also noted that from 2006 to 2014, more than 12,000 Christians were killed and 2,000 churches destroyed because of terrorism in Nigeria. These crimes were mainly committed by the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram, he said, but Boko Haram is not the only group that spreads terror in the African country, and he highlighted the role of Fulani herdsmen in recent years.

The Fulani are a nomadic ethnic group that has been protagonists of recurrent conflicts with farmers in the area. However in recent times the attacks are of a completely different kind compared to the old clashes between farmers and herders, as the latter use “sophisticated weapons that did not exist before, such as the AK-47, said Bishop Bagobiri, adding that it is not known where the weapons come from.