POPE ADDRESSES DIPLOMATS ON SECURITY, PEACE AND “RELIGIOUSLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE”

POPE ADDRESSES DIPLOMATS ON SECURITY, PEACE AND “RELIGIOUSLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE”

Pope Francis today addressed members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See in what is an annual address usually held the second Monday of January. He highlighted the lights and shadows of the world but principally focussed this year’s message on two topics – the theme of security and peace and “religiously motivated violence,” particularly “on the fundamentalist-inspired terrorism that in the past year has also reaped numerous victims throughout the world: in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, the United States of America, Tunisia and Turkey.”

The diplomats represent 182 nations and include 88 ambassadors who are full time residents in Rome. The newest member accredited to the Holy See, as Pope Francis specifically mentioned in his opening remarks, was the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. He spoke of various bilateral agreements and concordats and pointed out that, “in the context of the Holy See’s commitment to the obligations assumed by the aforementioned Agreements, the Comprehensive Agreement with the State of Palestine, which took effect a year ago, was fully implemented.”

The Holy See also has relations with numerous international institutions and agencies such as the United Nations.

Pope Francis began his remarks by noting that, “A century ago, we were in the midst of the First World War. A ‘useless slaughter’ in which new methods of warfare sowed death and caused immense suffering to the defenceless civil population.  In 1917, the conflict changed profoundly, taking on increasingly global proportions, while those totalitarian regimes, which were long to be a cause of bitter divisions, began to appear on the horizon.  A hundred years later, it can be said that many parts of the world have benefited from lengthy periods of peace, which have favoured opportunities for economic development and unprecedented prosperity.  For many people today, peace appears as a blessing to be taken for granted, for all intents an acquired right to which not much thought is given.  Yet, for all too many others, peace remains merely a distant dream.  Millions of people still live in the midst of senseless conflicts.  Even in places once considered secure, a general sense of fear is felt.  We are frequently overwhelmed by images of death, by the pain of innocent men, women and children who plead for help and consolation, by the grief of those mourning the loss of a dear one due to hatred and violence, and by the drama of refugees fleeing war and migrants meeting tragic deaths.” (photo news.va)

diplomats

This, he said, is why he was devoting his address to the theme of security and peace.”

Francis explained that “Peace is a positive good, ‘the fruit of the right ordering of things’ with which God has invested human society; it is ‘more than the absence of war’. Nor can it be ‘reduced to the maintenance of a balance of power between opposing forces’. Rather, it demands the commitment of those persons of good will who “thirst for an ever more perfect reign of justice.”

“In this regard,” he said, “I voice my firm conviction that every expression of religion is called to promote peace. …. We know that there has been no shortage of acts of religiously motivated violence, beginning with Europe itself, where the historical divisions between Christians have endured all too long. …..”

“Sadly, we are conscious that even today, religious experience, rather than fostering openness to others, can be used at times as a pretext for rejection, marginalization and violence.” Naming the places that had experienced terrorism in the past year, the Pope said, “These are vile acts that use children to kill, as in Nigeria, or target people at prayer, as in the Coptic Cathedral of Cairo, or travelers or workers, as in Brussels, or passers-by in the streets of cities like Nice and Berlin, or simply people celebrating the arrival of the new year, as in Istanbul.

“We are dealing with a homicidal madness which misuses God’s name in order to disseminate death, in a play for domination and power.  Hence I appeal to all religious authorities to join in reaffirming unequivocally that one can never kill in God’s name.”

For the entire papal address, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/peace-security-focal-points-of-popes-speech-to-dip

 

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR JUNE 2016 – HEALTH PROFESSIONALS “PERSONIFY” MERCY, SAYS FRANCIS – AGENDA FOR PAPAL TRIP TO POLAND FOR WYD 2016 – POPE AND C9 CARDINALS MEET, CONTINUE REFORM OF ROMAN CURIA – PRESS RELEASE FROM CONGREGATION FOR EVANGELIZATION

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR JUNE 2016

The papal prayer intention in video format as developed by the Apostleship of Prayer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLw0y7A90pg&feature=youtu.be&a

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS “PERSONIFY” MERCY, SAYS FRANCIS

Pope Francis Thursday addressed the Medical Associations of Spain and Latin America in the Clementine Hall, telling them that health professionals are the “true personification” of mercy. He also told them of his gratitude for those who, through dedication and professionalism, help those who suffer. (news.va photo)

Health officials

Francis said, “the identity of the physician relies not only on skills but mainly on a compassionate and merciful attitude towards those who suffer in body and spirit. Compassion is the very soul of medicine and compassion is not pity, it is suffering-with.”

The Holy Father observed that, “compassion is not always well received in our individualistic and highly technological culture because sometimes it is seen as a humiliation. There are even some who hide behind alleged compassion to justify killing a patient. True compassion does not marginalize, humiliate or exclude and doesn’t celebrate the passing away of a patient. No, this is the triumph … of the “culture of disposability” that rejects people who do not meet certain standards of health, beauty or utility.

“Health is one of the most precious gifts and everyone desires it,” Pope Francis said. “The biblical tradition has always highlighted the closeness between salvation and health, as well as their mutual and numerous implications. … Christian medical tradition has always been inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is identified with the love of the Son of God, who ‘went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed’.”

Francis stressed that compassion “is the appropriate response to the immense value of the sick person, a response made of respect, understanding and tenderness, because the sacred value of the life of the patient does not disappear, nor is it ever darkened, but it shines with more splendor precisely in the person’s suffering and helplessness.” He added that, “fragility, pain and disease are a tough test for everyone, including medical staff; they are a call to patience, to suffer-with; therefore one cannot yield to the temptation to apply quick, merely functional and drastic solutions driven by false compassion or by criteria of efficiency or cost savings. At stake is the dignity of human life; at stake is the dignity of the medical vocation.”

AGENDA FOR PAPAL TRIP TO POLAND FOR WYD 2016

(Vatican Radio)  The Vatican on Thursday released the program for Pope Francis’ 27-31 July visit to Poland for the 31st World Youth Day celebrations.

mapKRAKOW

The Pope will depart from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 2 p.m. and will arrive at the John Paul II airport of Balice-Krakow two hours later. After the welcome ceremony he will transfer to the Castle of Wawel, where he will address the civil authorities and diplomatic corps, followed by a courtesy visit to the president of the Republic. The Pope’s first day in Poland will conclude with a meeting with bishops in Krakow Cathedral.

In the early morning of Thursday 28 July he will visit the Convent of the Sisters of the Presentation on the way to the airport, and at 8.30 a.m. he will transfer by helicopter to Czestochowa where, in the monastery of Jasna Gora, he will pray in the chapel of the Black Virgin before celebrating Holy Mass in the Shrine of Czestochowa on the occasion of the 1,050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland. At 12.45 p.m. he will return to Krakow where he will address the young people gathered in Jordan Park.

On Friday 29 July he will transfer by helicopter to Oswiecim. At 9.30 he will visit Auschwitz and at 10.30 the camp of Birkenau, returning to Krakow where at 4.30 p.m. he will meet patients at the university paediatric hospital, and at 6 p.m. he will preside at the Via Crucis with young people in Jordan Park.

On Saturday he will visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, where he will pass through the Door of Divine Mercy and confess several young people. After, at 10.30, he will celebrate Holy Mass for Polish priests, men and women religious, consecrated persons and seminarians in the St. John Paul II Shrine of Krakow. The Pope will lunch with several young people in the archiepiscopal residence and then in the evening will pass through the Holy Door in the Campus Misericordiae with various young people. There, at 7.30 p.m., he will give the opening address of the prayer vigil.

On Sunday 31 July, Francis will celebrate Mass for World Youth Day in the Campus Misericordiae, after which, at 5 p.m., he will greet the WYD volunteers, organising committee and benefactors in the Tauron Arena in Krakow. He will depart by air at 6.30 p.m., destined for Rome’s Ciampino airport, where he is expected to arrive at 8.25 p.m.

POPE AND C9 CARDINALS MEET, CONTINUE REFORM OF ROMAN CURIA

(Vatican Radio) The Council of Cardinals concluded three days of meetings in the Vatican on Wednesday, continuing their discussions on the ongoing reform of the different Vatican offices and institutions. The head of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi briefed journalists on the contents of the meetings, noting that Pope Francis was present for most of the time with the nine cardinals in the group.

Fr. Lombardi said a large part of the consultations was dedicated to discussing the reforms regarding the Secretariat of State, the Congregations for Catholic Education, for Oriental Churches, for the Clergy and for Bishops, as well as the Pontifical Councils for Culture, for Christian Unity and for Interreligious Dialogue.

He also noted that the results of previous consultations regarding the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Worship and the Sacraments, for the Causes of Saints and for Consecrated Life, as well as the new Charity, Justice and Peace office, have been handed over to Pope Francis for his deliberations.

Fr. Lombardi said that the reforms were focused on the criteria of simplifying and harmonizing the work of the different offices, as well as exploring ways of decentralizing tasks to the different bishops conferences.

Lastly, he noted that Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Cardinal George Pell discussed questions relating to the Council and the Secretariat for the Economy, while Msgr. Dario Viganò reported on the continuing reform of the Vatican media offices, especially the process of integrating Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center which is taking place this year.

The next meetings of the C9 group of cardinals are scheduled to take place on September 12th, 13th and 14th and December 12th, 13th and 14th.

PRESS RELEASE FROM CONGREGATION FOR EVANGELIZATION

(EWTN/CNA) From Guam, June 6, 2016 – After sex abuse and other allegations were leveled against Guam’s archbishop, Pope Francis on Monday appointed a Vatican official to be the local Church’s apostolic administrator while an investigation is carried out. On June 6, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, was appointed apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the Archdiocese of Agaña, which serves Catholics in Guam, a U.S. island territory in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The appointment was made shortly after Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agaña was accused of sexual abuse dating from the 1970s, and of failing to implement strong policies on the handling of clerical sex abuse. As apostolic administrator “sede plena,” Archbishop Hon will govern the archdiocese because its ordinary is incapable of doing so. Though Archbishop Apuron remains archbishop, he will not exercise his office while Archbishop Hon remains as apostolic administrator. In May, allegations surfaced against Archbishop Apuron. The accusations were raised by a former altar boy, who said that he was molested at age 12, when he spent the night at a rectory with then-Father Apuron. The alleged incident took place in the mid-1970s in Agat, a town located almost 13 miles southwest of Hagåtña, Guam’s capital, when Archbishop Apuron was a parish priest.

UPDATE FROM GUAM: The following statement from the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is from the website of the Catholic Archdiocese of Agana: http://www.aganaarch.org/8654/press-release-from-the-vatican-congregation-for-the-evangelization-of-peoples/

“The Holy Father in his concern for the good of the whole church and with due consideration for the good of the faithful in Guam has temporarily entrusted the administration of the Archdiocese of Agaña to His Excellency the Most Rev. Savio Hon Tai Fai, S.D.B, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, who will be assisted by Rev. Fr. Tadeusz Jan Nowak, O.M.I..

“The priority of the Apostolic Administrator is to take stock of the present pastoral situation of the diocese; to identify the difficulties present among the clergy, religious, and lay faithful and to take urgent measures, at the earliest, in order to promote and restore unity and harmony in the local Church. The Apostolic Administrator, after carefully discerning the needs of the Archdiocese will take all necessary decisions to assure that this goal is being implemented. The Holy Father kindly asks for the trust and prayers of the local Church and sincerely hopes that the entire Catholic Community will put all of its energy in promoting unity, harmony, and stability of the Church.

“May Mary, Mother of the Church, assist with the same care she manifested at the very beginnings of the Church’s growth.

 

POPE FRANCIS BAPTIZES 26 BABIES IN SISTINE CHAPEL – HOLY FATHER ADDRESSES DIPLOMATIC CORPS ON LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF YEAR PAST

I posted some stories and lot of travel and other info about the Holy Year in Rome on my Facebook page over the weekend, so you might want to pay a visit: http://www.facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, quoting the lyrics to Davis Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” sent out this tweet to commemorate the singer who died yesterday at the age of 69 after 18 months of fighting cancer: “Ground Control to Major Tom Commencing countdown, engines on Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (David Bowie).”

POPE FRANCIS BAPTIZES 26 BABIES IN SISTINE CHAPEL

Pope Francis on Sunday, during Mass in the Sistine Chapel, baptized 26 babies – 13 boys and 13 girls. This is always a special annual event as parents, god-parents and other family members wait with bated breath for this most important moment in the life of their child – and also wait to see if theirs will be the first baby to cry during the ceremony! In fact, as several babies were heard crying, Pope Francis told the mothers should feel free to feed their children whenever they are hungry. (photo: news.va)

POPE BAPTISMS

The Holy Father had celebrated Mass in the chapel for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. He told parents to nurture the faith, saying, “Don’t forget that the greatest inheritance you can give to your children is the faith. Try to see that it is not lost, nurture it and leave it as an inheritance.” In his homily, which was brief and off-the-cuff, Francis told parents that in bringing their children to the chapel to receive baptism, they are imitating the act of Mary and Joseph, who, 40 days after Jesus’ birth, brought him to the temple to present him to God.

Pope Francis noted that eventually the infants baptized will grow up to be parents themselves, and will ask the same thing for their own children. Future parents, he said, will ask for “the faith, the faith that is given in baptism, the faith that today brings the Holy Spirit into the hearts, souls and lives of these, your children.”

Later, at the noon Angelus, the Pope highlighted the baptism ceremony in the Sistine Chapel and asked the faithful in St. Peter’s Square: “Do you know the date of your baptism? If not, I will give you a homework assignment: Go home and find the date of your baptism – talk to your parents, god-parents or other relatives, perhaps even the parish.”

The Holy Father has previously asked the same question on a number of occasions, mostly at a Sunday Angelus.

Francis had a special blessing for all children recently baptized, and included adults and young people who are preparing or have recently received the Sacraments of Christian Initiation.

POPE ADDRESSES DIPLOMATIC CORPS ON LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF YEAR PAST

In a lengthy speech lasting over 30 minutes, Pope Francis today gave his annual address to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Currently, 180 States, the European Union, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Permanent Mission of the State of Palestine are accredited to the Holy See. After being greeted in the Sala Regia by the new dean of the diplomatic corps, Armindo Fernandes do Espirito Santo Vieira, ambassador of Angola, Francis addressed the assembled diplomats. (photo: news.va)

DIPLOMATS

He looked at the year just past and highlighted its lights and shadows in a broad international overview. Though the greater part of his talk focused on the migration issue, he also addressed the arms trade, inter-religious dialogue, the need to overcome indifference, the “throwaway” culture so prevalent today, achieving “peace through religious experiences authentically lived,” terrorism and a theme very dear to him, especially in this Jubilee Year – mercy.

The Pope highlighted certain agreements concluded within the last year by the Holy See. He spoke of his trips, country by country. He spoke of the importance of the Jubilee of mercy and the quality of mercy.

He urged the ambassadors to reflect on “the poor, the marginalized and the ‘least’ of society,” noting the “grave crisis of migration we are facing, in order to discern its causes, to consider possible solutions, and to overcome the inevitable fears associated with this massive and formidable phenomenon, which in 2015 has mainly concerned Europe, but also various regions of Asia and North and Central America.”

“Many of the causes of migration could have been addressed some time ago. … Much could be done to end these tragedies and to build peace” but we must have the courage to question “entrenched habits and practices,” including “the arms trade, the provision of raw materials and energy, investment, policies of financing and sustainable development.” There must be “mid-term and long-term planning which is not limited to emergency responses” aime at providing “effective assistance for integrating migrants in their receiving countries” as well as promoting “the development of their countries of origin through policies inspired by solidarity.”

Francis asked the diplomats to attempt to “discern the causes and map out solutions” to the migratory emergency.

He said, “Europe must continue to take in migrants despite the massive landings and fears of terrorism” that “seem to shake” Europe’s welcome system: Europe must overcome “fears for security” and “not lose the foundations of its humanistic spirit.” He specifically thanked Italy as having “saved so many lives in the Mediterranean.”

The Holy Father also appealed for an end to “people trafficking, which turns human beings into a commodity, especially the weakest and most defenseless. … The images of children dead at sea are indelibly impressed in our minds and hearts.”

Francis noted that “we all look with hope to the important steps taken by the international community to reach a political and diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, to put an end to the suffering, which has lasted too long, of the population.”

On terrorism, he said only “common action” can defeat terrorism and extremism. “Only a distorted ideological form of religion can think that justice is done in the name of the Almighty by deliberately slaughtering defenseless persons, as in the brutal terrorist attacks which occurred in recent months in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.”

On another topic, he spoke to the national anti-usury board and called on the Holy Spirit to help “fight with all [our] force to defeat the widespread social plagues of usury and gambling.” This board is a consultative body that aims to coordinate efforts to fight usury and loan-sharking in all their forms.

The entire 4,010-word address may be found here: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-speech-to-diplomatic-corps