VATICAN INSIDER EXPLORES EXORCISM: PART II – VATICAN MESSAGE TO MUSLIMS AT RAMADAM

Pope’s Prayer Intention for June 2017: That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade, which victimizes so many innocent people.

Moments before posting this column, I heard from Kathleen Beckman that her mother died unexpectedly on May 31 as she, Kathleen, was bringing her father to the hospital for some tests. There never are the right words on such an occasion to express the grief and loss of a parent so I simply ask that you remember Kathleen, her Dad, her siblings and, of course, her late Mother, in your prayers.

VATICAN INSIDER EXPLORES EXORCISM: PART II

Tune in this weekend for Part II of my conversation with Kathleen Beckman and Dr. Luis Sandoval who recently traveled from the Orange County Diocese to Rome to attend a course on Exorcism at Regina Apostolorum seminary.

Kathleen is well known to so many as a prolific author, engaging speaker and retreat master and founder of Foundation of Prayer for Priests. We recently collaborated on the newly-released book, “When Women Pray.”

Dr. Luis Sandoval is a Santa Ana physician who is board certified in psychiatry and family medicine and who also serves as an advisor to the Board of Directors for NAMI Orange County (NAMI: National Alliance for Mental Illness). The Diocese of Orange sponsored a forum on mental illness last February entitled, How do we respond to mental illness in  our community? I will talk to him about any possible connection between mental illness and a person who is possessed and undergoes an exorcism.

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 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=

VATICAN MESSAGE TO MUSLIMS AT RAMADAM

The following Message to Muslims is from the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue and is entitled “Christians and Muslims: Caring for our Common Home.” It is dated May 19, 2017:

Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,

We wish to assure you of our prayerful solidarity during this time of fasting in the month of Ramadan and the celebration of ‘Id alFitr that concludes it, and we extend to you our heartfelt best wishes for serenity, joy and abundant spiritual gifts.

This year’s Message is especially timely and significant: fifty years ago, in 1967, only three years after the establishment of this Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) by Pope Paul VI on 19 May 1964, the first Message was sent for this occasion.

In the years that have followed, two Messages have been particularly important: the Message of 1991, during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, entitled “The Path of Believers is the Way of Peace”, and the Message of 2013, in the first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate, entitled “Promoting Mutual Respect through Education”. Both Messages were signed by the Pontiffs.

Among the many activities of the PCID for promoting dialogue with Muslims, the most important and longstanding is this yearly Message for Ramadan and for ‘Id al-Fitr addressed to Muslims throughout the world. To share this Message in the widest way possible, the PCID is assisted by local Catholic communities, as well as Papal Representatives present in almost every country.

The experience of both our religious communities affirms the value of this Message for promoting cordial relations between Christian and Muslim neighbours and friends, by offering insights on current and pressing issues.

For this year, the PCID offers a theme related to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter “ Laudato Si’– On Care for Our Common Home”, which was addressed not only to Catholics and Christians, but to the whole of humanity. Pope Francis draws attention to the harm our lifestyles and decisions are causing to the environment, to ourselves and to our fellow human beings. There are, for example, certain philosophical, religious, and cultural perspectives that present obstacles which threaten humanity’s  relationship with nature. To take up this challenge involves all of us, regardless of whether or not we profess a religious belief.

The Encyclical’s title itself is expressive: the world is a “ common home”, a dwelling for all the members of the human family. Therefore, no one person, nation or people can impose exclusively their understanding of our planet. This is why Pope Francis appeals “ for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet…, since the environmental challengewe are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affects us all” (n. 14). Pope Francis states that “the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion” (no. 217).

What is needed is education, spiritual openness and a “global ecological conversion” to adequately address this challenge. As believers, our relationship with God should be increasingly shown in the way we relate to the world around us. Our vocation to be guardians of God’s handiwork is not optional, nor it is tangential to our religious commitment as Christians and Muslims: it is an essential part of it.

May the religious insights and blessings that flow from fasting, prayer and good works sustain you, with God’s help, on the path of peace and goodness, to care for all the members of the human family and for the whole of creation.

With these sentiments, we wish you once again serenity, joy and prosperity.

From the Vatican, 19 May 2017

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, President

Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.l., Secretary

“TOGETHER, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS MUST SAY NO TO HATRED, NO TO REVENGE AND NO TO VIOLENCE!”

Pope Francis tweeted today. The time has come for new messengers of Christ, ever more generous, more joyful and more holy.

This will be a rather abbreviated column as, in the midst of busyness on so many upcoming projects – WHAM! –  I received an email with a pdf copy of my about-to-be-released book, “A Holy Year in Rome.” and that changed my afternoon agenda a bit! I was very moved and excited to check this out and I’m afraid I lost some time in exploring what promises to be (all modesty aside!) a real best seller! I’ll let you know very soon when and how it will be available!

Today’s projects included researching and writing some material for “At Home with Jim and Joy,” preparing for my three weekly radio shows and editing an interview for “Vatican Insider” this weekend.

Be sure to tune in tonight to “At Home” when I will be bringing news from Rome about Pope Francis’ amazing, just completed six-day, three-nation apostolic trip to Africa.  As you know, “At Home” airs Mondays and Thursdays at 2 pm ET.

One of Pope Francis’ most important moments in the conflict-ridden Central African Republic took place this morning when he met with Muslims at the Grand Mosque of Koudoukou in Bangui. The sad thing about the CAR conflict is that is is a question of a Muslim-Christian conflict. The Pope’s remarks today were very important so I bring you Vatican Radio’s report on that encounter.

Hopefully the Holy Father will rest a bit tomorrow and then tell us all about his remarkable days in Kenya, Uganda and the Central Africa Republic at the Wednesday general audience.

By the way, things are progressing quite nicely in St. Peter’s Square for Christmas. I was briefly in the square this afternoon but did not have my camera so will return tomorrow to take some photos of the building of the Nativity scene – il presepio – in St. Peter’s Square, just in front of the obelisk, and the very colorful decorations on the Christmas tree which is to the right of the obelisk. In past years there have been only silver and gold-colored ornaments but this year they are multi-colored and delightful.

This seems to be an afternoon of gifts.  I just received a lengthy phone call from a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre regarding my investiture as a Lady into the Order on December 18 and 19!  I am very excited and also very humbled to have been invited into the Order, but more than anything I am overjoyed to be able to play some small part in helping Christians in the Holy Land that I love so much!

More later about all of these exciting events!

“TOGETHER, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS MUST SAY NO TO HATRED, NO TO REVENGE AND NO TO VIOLENCE!”

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday morning visited the Grand Mosque of Koudoukou in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, meeting with the city’s Muslim community.

The Holy Father was welcomed to the mosque by the Grand Imam Nehedi Tidjani, along with four other Imam, who accompanied him to the podium.

CAR - Grand Mosque

In his address, Pope Francis recalled the recent violence which has rocked the country, saying “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.”

“We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace. Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years. […] Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself.  God is peace, God salam.”

Recalling the upcoming national consultations, the Holy Father said, “We cannot fail to express hope that the forthcoming national consultations will provide the country with leaders capable of bringing Central Africans together, thus becoming symbols of national unity rather than merely representatives of one or another faction.  I strongly urge you to make your country a welcoming home for all its children, regardless of their ethnic origin, political affiliation or religious confession.  The Central African Republic, situated in the heart of Africa, with the cooperation of all her sons and daughters, will then prove a stimulus in this regard to the entire continent.”

Below, please find Pope Francis’ prepared remarks to the Muslim Community of Bangui:

Address of Pope Francis

Meeting with the Muslim Community

Bangui, Central Mosque

30 November 2015

Dear Muslim friends, leaders and followers of Islam,

It is a great joy for me to be with you and I thank you for your warm welcome.  In a particular way I thank Imam Tidiani Moussa Naibi for his kind words of greeting.  My Pastoral Visit to the Central African Republic would not be complete if it did not include this encounter with the Muslim community.

Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.  We must therefore consider ourselves and conduct ourselves as such.  We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives.  Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace.  Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years.  They ought, therefore, to remain united in working for an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the Face of God and whose ultimate aim is to defend particular interests by any and all means, to the detriment of the common good.  Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself.  God is peace, God salam.

In these dramatic times, Christian and Muslim leaders have sought to rise to the challenges of the moment.  They have played an important role in re-establishing harmony and fraternity among all.  I would like express my gratitude and appreciation for this.  We can also call to mind the many acts of solidarity which Christians and Muslims have shown with regard to their fellow citizens of other religious confessions, by welcoming them and defending them during this latest crisis in your country, as well as in other parts of the world.

We cannot fail to express hope that the forthcoming national consultations will provide the country with leaders capable of bringing Central Africans together, thus becoming symbols of national unity rather than merely representatives of one or another faction.  I strongly urge you to make your country a welcoming home for all its children, regardless of their ethnic origin, political affiliation or religious confession.  The Central African Republic, situated in the heart of Africa, with the cooperation of all her sons and daughters, will then prove a stimulus in this regard to the entire continent.  It will prove a positive influence and help extinguish the smouldering tensions which prevent Africans from benefitting from that development which they deserve and to which they have a right.

Dear friends, dear brothers, I invite you to pray and work for reconciliation, fraternity and solidarity among all people, without forgetting those who have suffered the most as a result of recent events.

May God bless you and protect you! Salam alaikum!