POPE FRANCIS WEIGHS IN ON FAKE NEWS, “A SIGN OF INTOLERANT AND HYPERSENSITIVE ATTITUDES” – POPE DECRIES “UNTHINKABLE, BARBARIC” TREATMENT OF YEZIDIS – AUDIENCE CATECHESIS FOCUSES ON PAPAL TRIP TO CHILE AND PERU, APPEAL FOR PEACE IN DRC

Today is January 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists. In years past, the late Pontifical Council for Social Communications used to organize a Mass for journalists on this date at Santa Maria in Traspontina on Via della Conciliazione. It was always a well-attended event and members of the media were lectors and sang in the choir. I enjoyed going to those Masses and praying for our mission as journalists, and I hope they resume some day.

This year, officials of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications (SPC) assisted in organizing the annual meeting of Catholic journalists and Church communications professionals that took place this year in Lourdes, France. The SPC was co-organizer of the gathering with the Federation of the Catholic Media and SIGNIS. The theme this year was, “Media and Truth,” inspired by Pope Francis’ Message for World Communications Day 2018. Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin addressed the media.

One year on this feast day, Cardinal John Foley, who headed the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for many years, gave a talk and, with his never-failing sense of humor and a touch of self-deprecation, pointed to three similarities between himself and St. Francis de Sales: “We were both bishops, both in communications and both of us were bald!”

POPE FRANCIS WEIGHS IN ON FAKE NEWS, “A SIGN OF INTOLERANT AND HYPERSENSITIVE ATTITUDES”

Today, feast of St, Francis de Sales, patron of journalists, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ Message for the 52nd World Day of Social Communications on May 13. It is entitled, “’The truth will set you free’ (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace.”

CLICK HERE FOR ENGLISH: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2018/01/24/0062/00120.html#en

It is a riveting read and, if I had the time, I’d email it to every major secular news organization. It does not take that long to read and you’ll find yourself saying every few lines, “right on, Holy Father!”

I don’t see how one could call oneself a serious journalist who strives for the truth and then disagree with what the Holy Father writes.

The following paragraphs of the papal Message best describe how I see my work, my mission as a journalist (mission being a word that Pope Francis also uses):

“The best antidotes to falsehoods are not strategies, but people: people who are not greedy but ready to listen, people who make the effort to engage in sincere dialogue so that the truth can emerge; people who are attracted by goodness and take responsibility for how they use language. If responsibility is the answer to the spread of fake news, then a weighty responsibility rests on the shoulders of those whose job is to provide information, namely, journalists, the protectors of news.

“In today’s world, theirs is, in every sense, not just a job; it is a mission. Amid feeding frenzies and the mad rush for a scoop, they must remember that the heart of information is not the speed with which it is reported or its audience impact, but persons. Informing others means forming others; it means being in touch with people’s lives. That is why ensuring the accuracy of sources and protecting communication are real means of promoting goodness, generating trust, and opening the way to communion and peace.”

POPE DECRIES “UNTHINKABLE, BARBARIC” TREATMENT OF YEZIDIS

At nine this morning in a small room of the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received in audience a representation of the Yezidi community in Germany. Here are his words to them in my translation:

“Dear brothers and sisters, I greet you fraternally and I thank you for this encounter through which I can ideally embrace all members of the Yezidi community, in particular all those who live in Iraq and Syria. My thoughts and prayerful solidarity go to the innocent victims of such unthinkable and inhuman barbaric actions. It is unacceptable that human beings are persecuted and killed because of their religious belief. Every person has the right to freely and without restrictions profess their own religious creed. Your history, rich in spirituality and culture, has been unfortunately marked by unspeakable violations of the fundamental human rights of the person: kidnappings, slavery, torture, forced conversions and murder. Your shrines and places of worship have been destroyed. The most fortunate among you have been able to flee, but leaving everything you had behind, including your dearest and most sacred possessions. In many parts of the world there are still ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians, persecuted because of their faith. The Holy See never tires of intervening to denounce these situations, asking for recognition, protection and respect. At the same time the Holy See exhorts people to dialogue and reconciliation in order to heal everyone.

“In the face of the tragedy that is taking place and harming your community, one sees how, as the Gospel says, from the heart of man can explode the darkest forces, capable of reaching the point of planning the annihilation of one’s brother, of considering him an enemy or even an individual who does not have human dignity. I also think of the members of your community who are still in the hands of terrorists; I sincerely hope that everything will be done to save them, as well as trying to find those who are missing and to identity and give a worthy burial to those who have been killed. The international community can no longer remain a silent and insert spectator in the face of your drama. I therefore encourage institutions and people of good will to contribute to rebuilding your homes and places of worship, and to make concrete efforts to creating ideal conditions for the return of refugees to their homes and to preserving the identity of the Yezidi community. God help us in building together a world where everyone can live in peace and fraternity.”

AUDIENCE CATECHESIS FOCUSES ON PAPAL TRIP TO CHILE, PERU, APPEAL FOR PEACE IN DRC

Following his meeting with the Yezidis residing in Germany, the Holy Father proceeded to the Paul VI Hall where he encountered a group of ill people, including a number of children suffering from leukemia from Terra dei Fuochi, an area in southern Italy, accompanied by their parents.

Francis then proceeded to St. Peter’s Square where the faithful heard a catechesis on the Pope’s just-completed trip to Chile and Peru. (AFP photo)

“Dear brothers and sisters,” said the English language summary of the catechesis, “in my recent Apostolic Journey to Chile and Peru, I had the joy of encountering God’s pilgrim people and encouraging the growth of social harmony in respect for the rich diversity of those nations. In Chile, I stressed the importance of listening to the voices of all: the poor, the young and the elderly, the immigrant and the voice of the earth itself. I encouraged the Church in its path of purification and renewal, and, appealing to the example of Saint Alberto Hurtado, I encouraged educators to help the young to share in the building of a just and inclusive society.

“In Peru, I expressed my confidence that the nation’s environmental, spiritual and cultural riches can contribute to building unity and cooperation in meeting the grave challenges facing society. In my meeting with the Amazonian peoples, I stressed the importance of mutual respect and care for the natural environment. In Trujillo, hard hit by natural disasters, I invited all to work together in confronting the social problems of crime and the lack of education, employment and housing. In Lima, I concluded my visit to these two countries by appealing to the example of the saints and asking their intercession as the Church pursues the path of conversion and mission, and strives to be a messenger of unity, hope and peace for all peoples.”

After the catechesis in various language summaries, Francis expressed a heartfelt appeal for the deteriorating situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: “Unfortunately, troubling news continues to come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Therefore, I renew my call for everyone to commit to avoiding all forms of violence. On her part, the Church wants nothing other than to contribute to the peace and to the common good of society.”

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POPE FRANCIS IN CHILE – A WEDDING ON THE PENULTIMATE DAY

POPE FRANCIS IN CHILE – A WEDDING ON THE PENULTIMATE DAY

150,000 ATTEND PAPAL MASS IN TEMUCO, CHILE

Pope Francis traveled to the heart of Chile’s centuries-old conflict with indigenous peoples Wednesday, celebrating Mass at a former military base that not only lies on contested Mapuche land but also was a former detention center used during Chile’s brutal dictatorship. Leading around 150,000 people in a moment of silent prayer, Francis said the fertile green fields and snow-capped mountains of Araucania were both blessed by God and cursed by man, the site of “grave human rights violations” during the 1973-1990 dictatorship. “We offer this Mass for all those who suffered and died, and for those who daily bear the burden of those many injustices,” he said.

Francis also referred to recent violence that has flared in southern Araucania as radical Mapuche factions press for the return of their lands He said violence isn’t the answer to their grievances. “You cannot assert yourselves by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division,” he admonished in his homily. “Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation. Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie.”

FRANCIS MEETS WITH YOUTH – Wednesday, at the National Shrine of Maipu dedicated to Our Lady of Carmel in Santiago, the Pope urged young Chileans to be “protagonists of change” in the nation and in the Church by staying “connected” to Christ and doing what He would do in their place. Using the analogy of a mobile phone, the Pope explained the importance of always ‎staying “connected” to Christ and charging the batteries of their hearts. ‎He improvised amply in his native Spanish, underscoring the importance and experience of young people, saying he wants them to help the Church “to be more faithful to the Gospel,” and “draw closer to Jesus.” Speaking of a mobile phone with battery running down and losing internet connection, his message was how to stay connected to Christ when faith begins to waver. “Without a connection, a connection to Jesus,” the Pope said, “we end up drowning our thoughts and ideas, our dreams and our faith, and so we get frustrated and annoyed,” and our hearts begin to falter. But the Pope cautioned, “Never think that you have nothing to offer or that nobody cares about you.” Citing Chilean St. Albert Hurtado, he said it is the devil who makes us feel worthless.

Concluding his second full day in Chile on Wednesday, Pope Francis addressed over 1,000 staff and prominent Chilean intellectuals and academics at the PONTIFICAL CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF CHILE IN SANTIAGO,urging them to take up the challenge of generating a new culture of dialogue and social cohesion. He also urged them to sensitize the nation as to the importance of showing special care and respect for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. Francis underscored the responsibility of educators in creating the conditions for peaceful coexistence in the country. At the conclusion of a day spent mostly in the southern Araucania region, the contested homeland of the indigenous Mapuche peoples where centuries-old conflicts have resulted in grave human rights violations and abuse, Pope Francis said indigenous peoples are “not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed”. The accelerated pace and sense of disorientation before new processes and changes in societies call for new educational processes that are transformative, inclusive and that favour encounter and coexistence.

THURSDAY – PAPAL MASS IN IQUIQUE, northern Chile:
Full text HERE: http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-mass-at-iquique-pope-francis0.html

HOLY FATHER MARRIES COUPLE ON PAPAL FLIGHT

Vatican News: Pope Francis performs the first-ever papal marriage ceremony aboard a plane, during his trip to Iquique on Thursday, the final day of his Apostolic Visit to Chile. The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, says the wedding Pope Francis performed aboard the papal plane bound for Iquique on Thursday was “totally legit” and “doctrinally OK”. The newly-weds – Paula Podest Ruiz and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga – are flight attendants for LATAM and met 8 years ago aboard a plane.  (CNA photo)

They were married civilly in 2010. However, they were unable to follow up with a Sacramental marriage because their church was destroyed before the ceremony by an earthquake, which hit Chile that year. Greg Burke said, “Doctrinally it’s OK, because to be married the actual ministers are the people themselves. You just need a witness. There are a couple other things, normally there are publications. And there were things that had to passed over, but it’s totally legit, and everyone’s happy!” He said it “was not the Pope’s idea; it was their idea, but the Pope was happy to do it.”

The official marriage certificate reads: “On 18 January 2018, aboard the papal plane from Santiago to Iquique, Mr. Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga and Ms. Paula Podest Ruiz contracted marriage, in the presence of the witness, Ignacio Cueto. The Holy Father Pope Francis received their consent.

POPE MEETS VICTIMS OF CLERICAL SEX ABUSE – POPE WARNS CHILEAN BISHOPS AGAINST TEMPTATION OF CLERICALISM – POPE TO PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS: A CHURCH FORGIVEN OF HER SINS GOES OUT TO SERVE WOUNDED HUMANITY – HOLY FATHER TELLS INMATES NOT TO LOSE HOPE OR DIGNITY – 150,000 ATTEND PAPAL MASS IN TEMUCO, CHILE

As you know, EWTN is featuring the papal visit on TV and in its news reports so hopefully you have been able to spend some time with the Pope in Chile. Following are more news reports from the Vatican News and reporters on the ground with the Holy Father.

If you’ll allow me, I have very special prayer request to make. My six-month old niece Maren (the 23rd of my 23 great-nieces and –nephews) is having surgery tomorrow morning in Chicago to repair a hole in her heart. Doctors are optimistic and that is good but even better is prayer! Heartfelt thanks!

POPE MEETS VICTIMS OF CLERICAL SEX ABUSE

Announcement from Holy See Press Office Tuesday evening: Today at the Apostolic Nunciature in Santiago, Pope Francis met alone and privately with several victims of sexual abuse by clergy. The Pope prayed and cried with them after hearing their experiences.

POPE WARNS CHILEAN BISHOPS AGAINST TEMPTATION OF CLERICALISM

(Vatican News – Linda Bordoni) – Pope Francis has urged bishops in Chile to be on guard against the temptation of Clericalism. Meeting his brother bishops in the Sacristy of Santiago Cathedral, the Pope recalled the ad limina visit in the Vatican about a year ago and said he wished to reiterate some of the points made during that meeting in Rome.

“I can sum them up in the following phrase: the consciousness of being a people” he said. Warned against the sense of not belonging He said “one of the problems facing our societies today is the sense of being orphaned, the feeling of not belonging to anyone”.

It’s a “postmodern” feeling, he continued, that can seep into us and into our clergy and make us think that we belong to no one: “we forget that we are part of God’s holy and faithful people and that the Church is not, nor will it ever be, an élite of consecrated men and women, priests and bishops”.

Priests are servants, not masters

Without this consciousness of belonging to God’s people as servants, not masters, the Pope said, “can lead us to one of the temptations that is most damaging to the missionary outreach that we are called to promote: clericalism, which ends up as a caricature of the vocation we have received”. He said that a failure to realize that the mission belongs to the entire Church, and not to the individual priest or bishop, limits the horizon, and even worse, stifles all the initiatives that the Spirit may be awakening in our midst. Clericalism extinguishes the prophetic flame to which we are called to bear witness

Francis reminded the bishops that, “laypersons are not our peons, or our employees” and said that “Clericalism, far from giving impetus to various contributions and proposals, gradually extinguishes the prophetic flame to which the entire Church is called to bear witness”. He strongly invited those present to be on guard against this temptation, especially in seminaries and throughout the process of formation.

The gift of dreaming

He implored the Holy Spirit for “the gift of dreaming and working for a missionary and prophetic option capable of transforming everything, so that our customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and ecclesial structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of Chile rather than for ecclesiastical self-preservation”

“Let us not be afraid,” Pope Francis concluded, “to strip ourselves of everything that separates us from the missionary mandate”.

POPE TO PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS: A CHURCH FORGIVEN OF HER SINS GOES OUT TO SERVE WOUNDED HUMANITY

Click here for a slide show from CNS story in Boston Pilot on papal encounter with priests, Religious in Santiago: https://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?utm_source=ConstantContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Dailynewsletter&ID=181278

(Vatican News – Robin Gomes)

Reflecting on the transformation of St. Peter the Apostle, Pope Francis urged Chilean priests, religious and seminarians to be a prophetic Church, which washed of her sins is not afraid to go out and serve a wounded humanity. Speaking to them in the Cathedral of Santiago, Tuesday evening, the Pope dwelt on John’s Gospel where Peter, disillusioned after the Resurrection, goes back to fishing but catches nothing. However, at the Lord’s behest, he casts the net on the right side and comes up with a miraculous haul of fish.

Transformation of Peter

Pope Francis reminded the priests and religious about the personal and communitarian dimensions of their vocation. He thus reflected on Peter and the community ‎disheartened,  Peter and the community shown mercy, and Peter and the community transfigured. Speaking about the “hours of dismay and confusion” in the life of Peter in the aftermath of the ‎Resurrection, the Pope acknowledged that in times “when the tempest of persecutions, tribulations, doubts, and so forth, is raised by ‎cultural and historical events, it is not easy to find the path to follow.” ‎But, he said, the “worst temptation of all is to keep dwelling on our own unhappiness”

Pain of abuse of minors

Alongside the “fidelity of the immense majority” of priests and religious, the Pope admitted there are also “weeds of evil and their aftermath of scandal and desertion”. Pope Francis particularly spoke about the “pain resulting from cases of abuse of minors” in the Church of Chile, which he said cause harm and sufferings to the victims and their families, to ecclesial communities and also to priests and religious themselves. He thus urged them to ask God for the grace of “clear-sightedness to call reality by its name, the strength to seek forgiveness and the ability to listen to what He tells us.”

Journey of conversion

Amidst changes taking place in Chilean society, Pope Francis urged the priests and religious to fight the temptation of being closed and isolated and defending their ways, forgetting that the “Gospel is a journey of conversion.”

Pointing out that Peter experienced his limitation, his frailty and his sinfulness, Pope Francis said that as disciples and Church “we have to face not our success but our weakness”. Jesus wants to save Peter from self-centredness and isolation, from bring downcast and negative.

Wounded Church heals world’s wounds

The one thing that sustains his apostles, the Pope said, is that they have received mercy. Priests and religious, he said are not superheroes or better than others, but “are sent as men and women conscious of having been forgiven.” Just as Jesus did not hide his wounds, so too we are “not asked to ignore or hide our wounds,” the Pope said, adding, “a Church with wounds can understand the wounds of today’s world and make them her own, suffering with them, accompanying them and seeking to heal them.” “A wounded Church does not make herself the centre of things,… but puts at the centre the one who can heal those wounds, whose name is Jesus Christ.”

The acknowledgement that we are wounded, the Pope said, frees us from becoming self-referential and thinking ourselves superior.” Our wounds that are risen in Jesus, inspire solidarity; they help us to tear down the walls that enclose us in elitism and they impel us to build bridges and to encounter all those yearning for that merciful love which Christ alone can give.

Kingdom of heaven

The problem the Pope said, is not feeding the poor, clothing the naked and visiting the sick, but rather recognizing that the poor, the naked, the sick, prisoners and the homeless have the dignity to sit at our table, to feel “at home” among us, to feel part of a family. “This is the sign that the kingdom of heaven is in our midst. This is the sign of a Church wounded by sin, shown mercy by the Lord, and made prophetic by his call,” the Pope added.

HOLY FATHER TELLS INMATES NOT TO LOSE HOPE OR DIGNITY

(Vatican News – Linda Bordoni) – Pope Francis greeted the inmates of Santiago’s San Joaquin Women’s Penitentiary Center and encouraged them to resist everything that might rob them of their identity and end up by killing their hope. He also appealed to authorities to promote projects that render jail sentences opportunities for personal growth.

It was one of those meetings that are clearly at the top of Pope Francis’ agenda. Taking his time to hold hands and kiss babies as he made his way to the podium set up in a simple space decked with coloured ribbons and hundreds of paper origami doves, each one bearing the name of a prison inmate, the Pope set a gentle and joyful mood with simple gestures, eye contact and a smile.

Never lose hope or dignity

He told the some 650 inmates, many of them with babies and small children, never to lose their hope or their dignity just because they’ve lost their freedom.

Everyone is a sinner

Quoting from the Gospel of John in which Jesus says: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone” Pope Francis told the women that everyone is a sinner, and that change is always possible.

Prison sentences must offer opportunity for growth

Setting aside his prepared speech, to the applause of the women he said: “No one can take away your dignity” and called for prison sentences to not just serve as punishment, but to be a chance for inmates to learn new trades so they can re-enter society when they have completed their sentences.

And turning to Janeth, the woman who addressed him on behalf of “the almost 50,000 men and women deprived of their liberty in Chile,” the Pope said: “thank you for your courageous request for forgiveness, for reminding us that without this attitude we lose our humanity. We forget that we did wrong and that every day is an invitation to start over”.

An appeal to women to bring forth the future

Pope Francis, the friend of the poor and of the discarded frequently visits detention centers during his apostolic journeys. Tuesday’s visit to San Joaquin in Santiago was his first-ever visit to a women’s facility, and to his all-female audience he said: “As women, you have an incredible ability to adapt to new circumstances and move forward. Today I appeal to that ability to bring forth the future that is alive in each one of you. That ability enables you to resist everything that might rob you of your identity and end up by killing your hope. A hope, Janeth said in her speech, that hangs on the fact that “We know that God forgives us, but we ask that society does so as well”.

150,000 ATTEND PAPAL MASS IN TEMUCO, CHILE

TEMUCO, Chile (AP) — Pope Francis traveled to the heart of Chile’s centuries-old conflict with indigenous peoples Wednesday, celebrating Mass at a former military base that not only lies on contested Mapuche land but also was a former detention center used during Chile’s brutal dictatorship.

Leading around 150,000 people in a moment of silent prayer, Francis said the fertile green fields and snow-capped mountains of Araucania were both blessed by God and cursed by man, the site of “grave human rights violations” during the 1973-1990 dictatorship.

“We offer this Mass for all those who suffered and died, and for those who daily bear the burden of those many injustices,” he said.

Francis also referred to the more recent violence that has flared in southern Araucania as radical Mapuche factions press for the return of their lands, including a recent spate of church burnings that preceded his visit. No one has claimed responsibility for the 10 firebombs that have damaged, or in some cases burned churches to the ground in recent days.

The Argentine Jesuit pope took those factions to task, saying violence wasn’t the answer to their grievances.

“You cannot assert yourselves by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division,” he admonished in his homily. “Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation. Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie.” https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/pope-goes-to-restive-area-in-chile-where-churches-are-burned/

THE PAPAL TRIP TO CHILE: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

THE PAPAL TRIP TO CHILE: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Following are several reports on Pope Francis’ fourth trip to Latin America, his 22nd foreign apostolic trip, that started yesterday evening when he landed in Chile. This is the first leg of his January 15 to 21 apostolic voyage that concludes with several days in Peru. Stories are from vaticannews.va, from reporters accompanying the Holy Father from Rome and are on papal flights or reporters on the ground in Chile.

Later in the day, local time, the Pope will visit a women’s prison and will meet with bishops at Santiago’s cathedral.

POPE FRANCIS ON PAPAL PLANE: CONCERN ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS

LA STAMPA – “The fruit of war…”. To the journalists who accompany him on his flight from Fiumicino to Santiago de Chile, the first stop of his apostolic journey to Chile and Peru, the Pope wanted to distribute the photo of the child who, after the atomic bombardment of Nagasaki, in 1945, is carrying his dead brother on his shoulders to a crematorium. A brutal image taken by American photographer Joseph Roger O’ Donnell, that the Pope already wanted to be printed and distributed at end of this year. His bitter caption were the words, “The fruit of war”. Followed by another caption in Spanish that emphasized the despair of the child “in his gesture of biting the lips that ooze blood”. Finally, his signature: “Franciscus”. http://www.lastampa.it/2018/01/15/vaticaninsider/eng/news/on-the-flight-to-chile-the-pope-distributes-to-journalists-the-picture-of-the-child-from-nagasaki-j7Aitjo30yCJnWwLWnB4AO/pagina.html

POPE USES FLIGHT TO CHILE TO URGE END TO NUCLEAR WAR

(CRUX) ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — As he did during the Christmas season, Francis circulated an image of a young boy carrying his dead brother on his back, taken after the atomic bomb in Nagasaki, on the plane full of journalists accompanying him on his Jan. 15-21 trip to Chile and Peru. Through his spokesman, Francis handed each of the journalists a copy of the 1945 picture by American journalist Joseph Roger O’Donnell, portraying a boy who’s waiting for his turn at the crematory to hand in his younger brother’s body. The pope told reporters that he found it by chance, and was moved upon seeing it. On the other side, it has the phrase “…the fruit of war,” and his signature. https://cruxnow.com/pope-in-chile-and-peru/2018/01/15/pope-uses-flight-chile-urge-end-nuclear-war/

POPE BEGINS HIS 6-DAY APOSTOLIC VISIT TO CHILE AND PERU

VaticanNews.va – Pope Francis has arrived in Chile, beginning a week-long Apostolic journey that will take him to 6 cities in as many days in Chile and Peru. This his 6th apostolic visit to Latin America. The Pope was met at Santiago International airport by Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, and the President of the country’s Bishops’ Conference. There were no official discourses as the Pope went immediately to the Apostolic Nunciature to rest. The official programme of the visit begins today with his meeting with civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps. http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-arrival.html

POPE FRANCIS ARRIVES IN CHILE FOR WEEKLONG TRIP FOCUSED ON THE POOR, THE RAINFOREST AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

LATIMES – Pope Francis arrived here in the Chilean capital Monday evening to start a weeklong swing through Chile and Peru in which he is expected to highlight the plight of indigenous peoples, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the precarious status of immigrants and the poor. In an eleventh-hour schedule shift, Francis stopped in Santiago at the tomb of a Chilean prelate who was known as the “bishop of the poor” and who aided those seeking loved ones detained during Chile’s former military dictatorship. arrived here in the Chilean capital Monday evening to start a weeklong swing through Chile and Peru in which he is expected to highlight the plight of indigenous peoples, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the precarious status of immigrants and the poor. In an eleventh-hour schedule shift, Francis stopped in Santiago at the tomb of a Chilean prelate who was known as the “bishop of the poor” and who aided those seeking loved ones detained during Chile’s former military dictatorship. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-chile-pope-20180115-story.html

POPE OPENS CHILE TRIP WITH APOLOGY FOR CLERICAL SEX ABUSE

CRUX – SANTIAGO, Chile-Pope Francis apologized for the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by priests during his first public remarks on Tuesday in Chile, where the credibility of the Catholic Church has been badly marred by scandals involving clergy. “I feel bound to express my pain and shame, shame I feel for the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church,” Francis said. “I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and to make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again.” The pope’s words came during the first speech of his Jan. 15-18 trip to Chile, as he was addressing public authorities, members of civil society and the diplomatic corps in the country’s government house, La Moneda Palace, on Tuesday. https://cruxnow.com/pope-in-chile-and-peru/2018/01/16/pope-opens-chile-trip-apology-clerical-sexual-abuse/

POPE, IN CHILE, EXPRESSES ‘PAIN AND SHAME’ OVER CHURCH SEX ABUSE SCANDAL

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Pope Francis expressed “pain and shame” on Tuesday over a sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Chile, seeking forgiveness for a crisis that has scarred its credibility and left many faithful skeptical of reform. Francis spoke as the number of Catholic churches that have been attacked in the country in the past week rose to eight, both in the capital and in southern regions that are home to indigenous people. Police in riot gear dispersed some 200 demonstrators trying to make their way to a park where the pope said Mass for some 400,000 people after making his remarks about abuse. “Here I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church,” he said in the presidential palace, drawing sustained applause, including from President Michelle Bachelet and diplomats. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-chile-shame/pope-in-chile-expresses-pain-and-shame-over-church-sex-abuse-scandal-idUSKBN1F51BZ?il=0

POPE TO CHILEAN AUTHORITIES: DEMOCRACY AND THE ABILITY TO LISTEN

VaticanNews.va – Pope Francis apologizes to victims of clerical abuse in his address to members of the government, the diplomatic corps, and the civil authorities in Chile. He also told them they are a nation that has grown and thrived, but reminded them that it’s also important not to forget those who suffer situations of injustice. But he noted that “each new generation must take up the struggles and attainments of past generations, while setting its own sights even higher.” “Goodness, together with love, justice and solidarity, said the Pope are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day.” The Holy Father added that there was no room for complacency when many people still endure situations of injustice. http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-meeting-with-authorities.html

FRANCIS: BEATITUDES BORN FROM COMPASSIONATE HEART OF JESUS

VaticanNews.va – Pope Francis delivered the first homily during his Apostolic Visit to Chile at Mass celebrated in Santiago’s O’Higgins Park. The Gospel for the votive Mass for Peace and Justice introduces Christ’s Sermon on the Mount with the words, “When Jesus saw the crowds…” The Holy Father took these words as the starting point for his own homily. God’s profound love, he said, is awakened not by “ideas or concepts, but by faces, persons.” It is this encounter with the people, the Pope said, that led to the proclamation of the Beatitudes “that horizon towards which we are called and challenged to set out.” He said the Beatitudes are not “the fruit of passivity in the face of reality, nor of a mere onlooker gathering grim statistics” but are rather “born of the compassionate heart of Jesus, which encounters the hearts of men and women seeking and yearning for a life of happiness.” http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-mass-o-higgins-park.html

POPE TO VISIT WOMEN’S PRISON IN SANTIAGO, CHILE

VaticanNews – Later today, Tuesday, the first full day of his pastoral visit to Chile, Pope Francis will meet with women and young children in the overcrowded ‘San Joaquin’ Penitentiary Center. Pope Francis on Tuesday visits a women’s prison in Santiago, during the first leg of his pastoral journey to Chile and Peru. He’ll meet with around five hundred prisoners, together with the chaplains and a religious sister in charge of pastoral care for the inmates. The ‘San Joaquin’ Penitentiary Center was built over a hundred and fifty years ago to accommodate around 850 prisoners. Today it houses over 1.400 women charged with a variety of offenses, from theft or drug trafficking to murder and other more serious crimes. http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-women-s-prison-martinez-interview.html

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF FRANCIS: MASS FOR MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES, A PRAYER BEFORE A MARIAN ICON AND A FLIGHT TO CHILE

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF FRANCIS: MASS FOR MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES, A PRAYER BEFORE A MARIAN ICON AND A FLIGHT TO CHILE

Pope Francis celebrated Mass yesterday in St. Peter’s Basilica for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, urging the faithful to “overcome fear and to welcome the other’.” The papal liturgy seemed even more international than usual given the music from the young, multilingual voices of the Latin American choirs, the colorful flags and multicultural costumes of the 49 countries represented at the papal Mass, and the presence of ambassadors from 70 countries. In addition, some 460 priests from all over the world concelebrated with the Holy Father. Francis said he wanted to celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees with a Mass of invitation and welcome.

Later, at the Angelus, the Holy Father again spoke of this World Day and quoted from his Message: “Every stranger who knocks on our door is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ, who identifies himself with the foreigner who has been accepted or rejected in every age.” He also announced that, “for pastoral reasons,” this World Day will henceforth be commemorated on the second Sunday in September.

Francis asked the faithful in St. Peter’s Square to pray for his trip to Chile and Peru and, later Sunday, visited St Mary Major basilica to pray before the beloved icon of Mary, entrusting his trip to her maternal heart.

In fact, Pope Francis departed Rome at 8:55 this morning, Monday, for the 16-hour flight to Santiago, schedule to arrive about 8 pm local time. Rome is 4 hours ahead of Chile.

This may well be one of the Pope’s most difficult trips. There have been attacks on Churches in Chile, including some fire bombs, and in Peru, the country’s replica of the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro was set on fire days ago. In one case, the perpetrators of a church firebombed in Santiago, left a note that read: “Pope Francis, the next bomb will be in your robe.”

Needless to say, security will be uppermost in the minds of Vatican officials, gendarmes and Swiss Guards as well as the police and security officials of both Chile and Peru.

(Vatican News – Devin Watkins) Churches attacked in Chile ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit – Four churches are vandalized on Friday in Chile’s capital, just ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to the country, and the Apostolic Nunciature is briefly occupied to protest against money spent on welcoming the Holy Father.(http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2018-01/chile-journey-churches-attacked-before-popes-arrival.html)

There is also anger over sexual abuse cases and the fact that Pope Francis, against advice, appointed a bishop who has been accused of turning a blind eye to abuse cases. Some fear these cases might overshadow the Pope’s desire to focus on the light of indigenous peoples.

In fact, the Holy Father intends to place the situation of indigenous peoples on the front pages of the world’s newspaper and he will focus on them in both Chile and Peru. A sample case of the problems faced by the indigenous is that of large pieces of land that were originally theirs but had been taken forcefully over the centuries, without any compensation. Others own land that criminal gangs are trying to take over – or have succeeded – in an attempt to grow lucrative palm oil or drug-related products.

In a story reported from Peru by the Guardian, for example, tribal leaders, who hail from four Amazon river basins, accuse the government of refusing to carry out a consultation process even though it is negotiating a new 30-year contract for oil block 192 with Frontera Energy, a Canadian firm, whose current contract expires in early 2019.

The so-called prior consultation law, passed in 2011 in Peru, requires the government to seek free, prior and informed consent from indigenous people before approving any development plans that might affect them.

But officials from Peru’s energy ministry refused to confirm if a new consultation process would be undertaken, stating that a 2015 process was still valid. Indigenous leaders representing more than 100 communities in the Marañon, Pastaza, Corrientes and Tigre river basins said that process had been carried out in “bad faith”.

Some say such stories are just the tip of the iceberg vis-à-vis indigenous peoples.

This is Francis’ 4th trip to Latin America but his fellow Argentinians are perplexed – and some angry – that he has not set foot in his homeland since his election in March 2013.

The itinerary for Pope Francis’ six days in Chile and Peru includes several Masses, meetings with civil and religious authorities, meetings with bishops, priests and men and women religious, a visit to a women’s prison, a private meeting with his fellow Jesuits, and encounters with indigenous peoples. A visit to Trujillo in northern Peru to visit those affected by the El Niño rains that left 100 dead and 141,000 displaced in early 2017.

The final event on the papal agenda next Sunday is Mass at Las Palmas Air Base in front of the image of the Lord of the Miracles. Francis and his entourage and the journalists covering this trip will depart for Rome that afternoon, arriving in the Eternal City about 2 p.m. on January 22.

Click here for the full itinerary: http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2017-11/programme-of-pope-francis–apostolic-visit-to-peru-and-chile-rel.html

POPE’S VISIT TO CHILE AND PERU CONFIRMS COMMITMENT TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLES – THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE AMAZON AWAIT POPE FRANCIS

POPE’S VISIT TO CHILE AND PERU CONFIRMS COMMITMENT TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, held a briefing on Thursday in the Vatican to illustrate Pope Francis’ upcoming pastoral journey to Chile and Peru – BY LINDA BORDONI

Pope Francis’ upcoming upcoming apostolic visit to Chile and Peru January 15-21 will take him to regions which are not only their country’s poorest and most peripheral, but where environmental issues and demands for indigenous land rights have even led to unrest and violence.

Burke said Francis knows the two countries well, having spent one and a half years in Chile during his novitiate and having travelled to Peru on various occasions. He also said he knows all of the bishops who have recently undertaken their “ad limina” visits to Rome.

The Pope’s weeklong journey is of course a pastoral one. As Francis highlighted in his video-message of greeting just ahead of his departure, he emphasized how he is coming to share the peace and the hope of the Lord in the spirit and joy of the Gospel.

Environment and rights of Indigenous Peoples

Burke confirmed the environmental aspect of the journey and issues pertaining to the rights of indigenous peoples are clearly one of the main themes of the journey. journey

In Chile the Pope will travel to the southern Araucania region where Mapuche communities have been stripped of their land repeatedly – first by Spanish colonists, then by settlers who moved to the region to farm, and more recently by timber plantations. It is here, in the city of Temuco that the Pope will celebrate Mass together with groups of indigenous peoples and then share lunch with their representatives and with the Bishop of Temuco.

On the second leg of his journey, Francis is scheduled to meet with Amazonian indigenous people in the city of Puerto Maldonado in Peru’s southeastern Madre de Dios region. It’s a particularly symbolic venue as the city is seen as the gateway to the Peruvian Amazon that covers almost 60% of the nation’s territory and is increasingly being exploited by the extractive and timber industries that, in turn, are forcing more and more indigenous tribes from their ancestral lands and livelihoods.

It is also where gold mining has left large expanses of barren land and pit mines, an activity which has led to forced labor, trafficking of women and girls for prostitution, and one of the highest murder rates in the country.

Synod of Bishops Pan Amazon region

This event in particular is seen as a window on the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region which will take place in the Vatican in October 2019. That’s why Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops is scheduled to host the event together with members of REPAM: the Pan-Amazonian Church Network.

Intense schedule

In both countries, as per protocol, Pope Francis will engage in meetings with political authorities. He will also meet with bishops, priests, religious and lay people, he will celebrate 5 Holy Masses, dedicate time and prayer to Marian celebrations, to honoring local Saints, and to meeting with his Jesuit brothers.

He will dedicate much time, as he always does, to meeting with the people, especially the young, the poor and those in vulnerable situations like prison inmates and the urban poor living in slums as well as those affected by the El Nino in Peru who have lost lands and homes in flooding and mudslides.

To the question: “will the Pope be meeting with victims of clerical sex abuse in Chile?”, Burke answered there is nothing on the program to that regard, but, he said, “everything is possible, and what’s more: ‘unscheduled meetings are often the best!’”

THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE AMAZON AWAIT POPE FRANCIS

In another piece by Linda Bordoni, we see that one of the highlights of Pope Francis’ upcoming apostolic visit to Peru is represented by a meeting with indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest in the city of Maldonado. In fact, Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the Peruvian city of Puerto Maldonado will undoubtedly give visibility and voice to the indigenous people of the Amazon.

Linda wrote that, in an interview published by the Pan-Amazonian Church Network – Repam – Fr Manuel Jesus Romero of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado said the Amazon’s indigenous people have an urgent need to make their rights known as they are increasingly pushed from their ancestral lands.

To learn more about that interview: http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2018-01/peru-journey-pope-amazon-indigenous-puerto-maldonado.html

 

PAPAL MASS “A STIRRING EXPERIENCE” FOR CATHOLIC FAITHFUL – POPE FRANCIS MEETS BUDDHIST LEADERS, CATHOLIC BISHOPS

I sincerely hope that my longtime friend and a colleague at Vatican Radio, Philippa Hitchens, is allowed a good rest and a day or two off when she returns to Rome from covering the papal trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh. She has done such a terrific job for Vatican Radio and has brought so much color and behind the scenes info to us.

PAPAL MASS “A STIRRING EXPERIENCE” FOR CATHOLIC FAITHFUL

Pope Francis Wednesday celebrated Mass at a sports ground in central Yangon, on the third day of his pastoral visit to Myanmar.

The Vatican Radio correspondent in Yangon, Philippa Hitchen reported that the event marked a highlight of his journey for the small Catholic Church in the country….

This was the moment the Catholic community in Myanmar had been patiently waiting for, since Francis’ arrival in the country two days ago. As he acknowledged in his homily, many of the faithful had come to Yangon from remote, rural villages or mountainous communities and had journeyed for several days on foot, by train, bus or the uncomfortable, open-sided trucks that are the most common form of transport here. They’d been camping out close to the sports ground since Monday, in anticipation of  this historic, first papal Mass on Burmese soil.

Myanmar’s turbulent history

The Kyaikkasan ground itself, built under British rule as Rangoon’s racecourse, is closely connected to the turbulent past century of the country’s history. During the years of military dictatorship, following the 1962 coup, it was used as a temporary detention centre. Following the death of Burma’s most famous diplomat, former U.N. Secretary General, U Thant, his coffin was briefly displayed here, before being seized by students protesting against the military’s refusal to honour their globally respected political leader.

Healing memories of the past

Pope Francis in his homily alluded to this turbulent history, noting how “many in Myanmar bear the wounds of violence” and are searching for ways to heal “every hurt and every painful memory”. While we often try to do this through anger and revenge, he said, it is only through forgiveness and mercy that we can truly find healing in our hearts. He described this loving mercy, modelled by Jesus on the Cross, as kind of “a spiritual GPS” that unfailingly guides us, even when we seem to have lost our way.

Witnessing to love and compassion

The pope praised the small flock in Myanmar for its tireless work among the poorest and most vulnerable people, mentioning especially the local Caritas and the Pontifical Mission Societies. But there are many other small groups of Catholics, up and down this country, working in schools and clinics, refugee camps and rehabilitation centres, quietly witnessing to those values of loving kindness and compassion.

‘Stirring experience’ for small flock

For all those people, this was truly a unique event, quite unimaginable until just a few months ago when the papal visit was first announced. Cardinal Charles Bo, at the end of Mass, described it as a “stirring experience” for this little flock.  An event that may hopefully, in some small way, be part of the national healing process that’s so urgently needed here.

POPE FRANCIS MEETS BUDDHIST LEADERS, CATHOLIC BISHOPS

Pope Francis had an action-packed afternoon in Myanmar on Wednesday, meeting with the nation’s Buddhist leaders at a peace pagoda and with the country’s Catholic bishops at the archbishop’s residence where he’s staying. He also managed to squeeze in an unscheduled encounter with the local Jesuit community there, as he likes to do on every foreign journey.

Philippa Hitchen is in Yangon and reports that the focus of the day’s events was on the role of all religions in shaping society through the shared values of justice, dignity and peace.

The meeting with Buddhist leaders was a very formal affair, with a row of barefoot monks, wrapped in their maroon or rust coloured robes, seated in stiff backed chairs opposite the pope and the rest of the Vatican delegation. An occasion for official speeches rather than animated interfaith discussions.

Nevertheless, the pope spoke emphatically about the need to strengthen friendships between believers of different faiths, promoting that culture of encounter that can “surmount all forms of misunderstanding, intolerance, prejudice and hatred”. He quoted from a famous collection of Buddha’s verses and encouraged recent efforts by religious leaders to meet together and discuss increased cooperation.

Weaving peaceful interfaith relations

In a similar way, with Catholic bishops later in the day, the pope returned to the theme of both interfaith and ecumenical relations, a pivotal part of the Church’s life here, where Catholics are a small minority within both the Christian and the wider Buddhist community.

He talked about weaving peaceful relations among people of different faiths, reminding me of the delicate designs I’ve seen woven into the brightly coloured clothes of the many different ethnic groups here.

Bishops must be prophetic voice

He told the bishops they must be healers, helping to overcome the scars of conflicts that continue to impede peace and development. He urged them to accompany their people, like shepherds who “bear the smell of the sheep”, going out into the fields and villages, rather than staying inside the sacristies of their churches.

Finally, he urged the bishops to be a prophetic voice within their rapidly changing society, asking them to focus especially on the environment, taking care of this nation’s “rich natural resources for the benefit of future generations”.

Priority of environmental protection

I only wish he had time, as I did last week, to visit the new Holy Cross church, built at the foot of a mountain in the spectacular Kachin National Park. Located at the source of the Irrawaddy river which runs the length of the country, the church is managed by La Salette Father Jerome Eiphan, whose dream is to develop a centre for environmental protection. Funding is scarce and the challenges are many, yet it’s a good example of how the Church here is quietly promoting those values of justice and peace that the pope was talking about today.