POPE FRANCIS LAYS OUT 21 GUIDELINES FOR PROTECTING MINORS

POPE FRANCIS LAYS OUT 21 GUIDELINES FOR PROTECTING MINORS

In his brief remarks in the opening morning of the Vatican’s Meeting for the Protection of Minors, Pope Francis laid out 21 reflection points, suggested guidelines to be used by all present at the current meeting and in eventual follow-up in dioceses for the worldwide protection of minors. Francis noted that these guidelines came from Episcopal conferences: “They are a simple point of departure that came from you and now return to you.” (Vatican media photo)

Following is his talk:

Dear Brothers, good morning! In light of the scourge of sexual abuse perpetrated by ecclesiastics to the great harm of minors, I wanted to consult you, Patriarchs, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, and Religious Superiors and Leaders, so that together we might listen to the Holy Spirit and, in docility to his guidance, hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice.

In this meeting, we sense the weight of the pastoral and ecclesial responsibility that obliges us to discuss together, in a synodal, frank and in-depth manner, how to confront this evil afflicting the Church and humanity. The holy People of God look to us, and expect from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken. We need to be concrete. So we begin this process armed with faith and a spirit of great parrhesia, courage and concreteness.

As a help, I would share with you some important criteria formulated by the various Episcopal Commissions and Conferences – they came from you and I have organized them somewhat. They are guidelines to assist in our reflection, and they will now be distributed to you. They are a simple point of departure that came from you and now return to you. They are not meant to detract from the creativity needed in this meeting.

In your name, I would also like to thank the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the members of the Organizing Committee for their outstanding and dedicated work in preparing for this meeting. Many thanks! Finally, I ask the Holy Spirit to sustain us throughout these days, and to help us to turn this evil into an opportunity for awareness and purification. May the Virgin Mary enlighten us as we seek to heal the grave wounds that the scandal of paedophilia has caused, both in the little ones and in believers. Thank you.

REFLECTION POINTS

1. To prepare a practical handbook indicating the steps to be taken by authorities at key moments when a case emerges.

2. To equip oneself with listening structures that include trained and expert people who can initially discern the cases of the alleged victims.

3. Establish the criteria for the direct involvement of the Bishop or of the Religious Superior.

4. Implement shared procedures for the examination of the charges, the protection of the victims and the right of defense of the accused.

5. Inform the civil authorities and the higher ecclesiastical authorities in compliance with civil and canonical norms.

6. Make a periodic review of protocols and norms to safeguard a protected environment for minors in all pastoral structures: protocols and norms based on the integrated principles of justice and charity so that the action of the Church in this matter is in conformity with her mission.

7. Establish specific protocols for handling accusations against Bishops.

8. Accompany, protect and treat victims, offering them all the necessary support for a complete recovery.

9. Increase awareness of the causes and consequences of sexual abuse through ongoing formation initiatives of Bishops, Religious Superiors, clerics and pastoral workers.

10. Prepare pathways of pastoral care for communities injured by abuses and penitential and recovery routes for the perpetrators.

11. To consolidate the collaboration with all people of good will and with the operators of mass media in order to recognize and discern real cases from false ones and accusations of slander, avoiding rancor and insinuations, rumors and defamation (cf. Pope Francis’ address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2018).

12. To raise the minimum age for marriage to sixteen years.***

13. Establish provisions that regulate and facilitate the participation of lay experts in investigations and in the different degrees of judgment of canonical processes concerning sexual and / or power abuse.

14. The right to defense: the principle of natural and canon law of presumption of innocence must also be safeguarded until the guilt of the accused is proven. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent the lists of the accused being published, even by the dioceses, before the preliminary investigation and the definitive condemnation.

15. Observe the traditional principle of proportionality of punishment with respect to the crime committed. To decide that priests and bishops guilty of sexual abuse of minors leave the public ministry.

16. Introduce rules concerning seminarians and candidates for the priesthood or religious life. Be sure that there are programs of initial and ongoing formation to help them develop their human, spiritual and psychosexual maturity, as well as their interpersonal relationships and their behavior.

17. Be sure to have psychological evaluations by qualified and accredited experts for candidates for the priesthood and consecrated life.

18. Establish norms governing the transfer of a seminarian or religious aspirant from one seminary to another; as well as a priest or religious from one diocese or congregation to another.

19. Formulate mandatory codes of conduct for all clerics, religious, service personnel and volunteers to outline appropriate boundaries in personal relationships. Be specific about the necessary requirements for staff and volunteers and check their criminal record.

20. Explain all information and data on the dangers of abuse and its effects, how to recognize signs of abuse and how to report suspected sexual abuse. All this must take place in collaboration with parents, teachers, professionals and civil authorities.

21. Where it has not yet been in place, establish a group easily accessible for victims who want to report any crimes. Such an organization should have a certain autonomy with respect to the local ecclesiastical authority and include expert persons (clerics and laity) who know how to express the Church’s attention to those who have been offended by improper attitudes on the part of clerics.

*** On this point, Abp. Scicluna noted in the afternoon press briefing that universal Canon law now has the minimum age for marriage for girls at 14 and for boys at 16. He said the Pope wishes the age to be uniformly 16 for both boys and girls, adding that national Episcopal conferences have had the power to change the minimum age, given circumstances and the cultures in their countries.

WYD, “A GREAT SYMPHONY OF FACE AND LANGUAGES” – HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAPAL AGENDA FOR 2019

I want my many friends and family members who live in the States struck by the polar vortex that I am praying for you every day, principally that you remain healthy and do not encounter any life-threatening moments during what some media are calling a historical time. Prayers especially for those alone, for the elderly, the newborn and the very young!

FYI: This is what I saw when I just clicked on a link to an article about the NFL in the Baltimore Sun: “Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.”

This is due to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679, a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.

Happens to me daily with a lot of U.S. papers whose articles I might want to read online – Chicago Tribune, etc. VERY annoying!

WYD, “A GREAT SYMPHONY OF FACE AND LANGUAGES”

As is customary for a Pope after completing a trip, at today’s general audience in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis spoke about his just-completed journey to Panama for World Youth Day 2019.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began, “Today I ask you to join me in thanking God for the graces he bestowed on the Church and on the people of Panama during my recent visit for World Youth Day. I thank the President and other authorities and particularly the volunteers for their warm welcome. The groups of people gathered there formed a great symphony of faces and languages typical of this event and the sight of the waving of so many flags was a prophetic sign that young Christians are a leaven of peace for the world.”

He noted that “one of the elements of World Youth Day is always the Way of the Cross. In Panama, the youth carried with Jesus and Mary the suffering of many brothers and sisters in Central America and beyond, especially those affected by forms of slavery and poverty, and by HIV/Aids.”

The Holy Father then turned to the Mass on Sunday, saying “the Risen Christ spoke afresh to young people, calling them to live the Gospel today, because they are the ‘today’ of the Church and the world.”

Then, in reference to his consecration of the new altar of Panama’s 400-year old cathedral, he noted that, “the oil of Chrism was used to consecrate the altar in the restored Cathedral in Panama, that which also anoints those being baptized, confirmed or ordained, and enables families to draw life from the Holy Spirit so as to continue their pilgrimage throughout the world as young missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.”

At the end of the English summary of his catechesis, via an interpreter, Pope Francis said, “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!”

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAPAL AGENDA FOR 2019

Pope Francis has just completed his first major trip and event of the New Year, returning 48 hours ago from Panama where he celebrated World Youth Day 2019 with an estimated five million plus young people.

He barely unpacked one suitcase and is now getting ready to pack for his second foreign trip of the year, three days in the United Arab Emirates.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights on the papal agenda for 2019. And there’s always room to add something important, so stay tuned.

United Arab Emirates
February will be particularly busy for the Holy Father. From February 3 to 5, Pope Francis becomes the first Pope to visit the United Arab Emirates. The Journey’s central theme surrounds inter-religious dialogue and solidarity among members of different faiths. The leaders of the UAE declared 2019 as a “Year of Tolerance” with the goal of promoting a culture free of religious fundamentalism.

Council of Cardinals and Curial reform
From February 18 to 20, the 28th meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place in the Vatican. The focus will be on the revision of the Constitution of the Roman Curia, Pastor Bonus. A new proposal was presented last December to Pope Francis, under the title “Praedicate evangelium”. Its goal is to help the Vatican’s governing body become more responsive to the need of a missionary Church.

February meeting against abuse
Probably the most-awaited papal event of 2019 takes place in the Vatican from February 21 to 24 February when Pope Francis will meet all Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences to discuss how to prevent the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. It promises to be a pivotal meeting in the fight against sexual abuse, as well as abuse of power and conscience, which are carried out by some members of the Church. Speaking to the Roman Curia in December 2018, Pope Francis said no excuse for following the path of truth and justice will be tolerated.

Journey to Morocco
On March 30 and 31, Pope Francis travels to Morocco, 33 years after Pope St. John Paul II’s historic visit on August 19, to Casablanca. The Pope will continue in his predecessor’s path of promoting mutual comprehension and inter-religious dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

Bulgaria & Macedonia
After a short rest in April, the Holy Father heads across the Adriatic Sea to visit Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on May 5 to 7. In Bulgaria he will visit the cities of Sofia and Rakovski. Then he travels to the Macedonian city of Skopje, where Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, was born. Catholics in these two Balkan nations are a tiny minority amidst the Orthodox majority, so promoting ecumenism will be high on the Pope’s to-do list.

Pope’s visit to Japan
Pope Francis openly told a group of Japanese visitors to the Vatican in September 2018 that he hopes to travel to Japan in 2019. He confirmed that he will travel there in November 2019 during remarks to journalists on the January 23rd flight from Rome to Panama for World Youth Day. During the encounter, the Pope recalled that, in 1585, a group of 4 Japanese young people arrived in Rome with several Jesuit missionaries to visit Pope Gregory XIII.

Amazonian Synod
Later in the year, the Synod of Bishops meets in October to discuss the Pan-Amazonia region. The Pope called for the special assembly on the theme “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology”. Many themes, not limited to ecology, form the center-of-attention for the 7 Bishops’ Conferences and 9 nations involved.

(source: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-01/pope-francis-agenda-2019-journeys-abuse-reform.html)

POPE TO ACADEMY FOR LIFE: PROMOTE HUMANISM OF FRATERNITY

The Pontifical Academy for Life was originally instituted by St. John Paul on February 11, 1994 with the Motu proprio “Vitae mysterium.” It was dedicated to “study, information and formation on the principal problems of biomedicine and of law, relative to the promotion and defense of life, above all in the direct relation that they have with Christian morality and the directives of the Church’s Magisterium”.

In 2016 and 2017 Pope Francis overhauled one of the stars of his predecessor’s pontificate, creating a new academy, statues and members, including at least one who is pro-abortion. Remarkably the original requirement for members to sign a “Declaration of the Servants of Life” was removed. This aimed at making explicit the members’ willingness to follow Church teaching on the sacredness of human life and to defend life on the Magisterium’s teaching.

Pope Francis also included the idea of “human ecology” and creation in outlining the focal points of the academy.

Today’s papal message comes just before 46th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 18, and the 13th edition of the March for Life in Paris on Sunday, January 20.

The Vatican news portal on Monday published a Message from Francis to the Paris March with words of encouragement.

As I read – and re-read – today’s Message I noted something interesting: the words “right to life,” “pro-life” and “unborn” do not appear. “Abortion” appears once. Humanism 5 times, humanity 5 times, human 9 times (separate from humanity and humanism).

POPE TO ACADEMY FOR LIFE: PROMOTE HUMANISM OF FRATERNITY

On the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis calls on its members to promote human fraternity and a humanism of life.
By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

Pope Francis made the “human community” the focus of a letter addressed to the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life on the 25th anniversary of its foundation by Pope St John Paul II. (vaticannews photo)

God’s dream
“The human community is God’s dream even from before the creation of the world,” the Pope said, emphasizing that we must “grow in the awareness of our common origin in God’s love and creative act.” He explained that “in our time, the Church is called once more to propose the humanism of the life that bursts forth from God’s passion for human beings.”

A state of emergency
After briefly reviewing the history of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis went on to outline the “serious obstacles” facing humanity today. In particular, he noted the “state of emergency existing in our relationship with the history of the earth and its peoples.” This emergency, rooted in concern for oneself at the expense of the common good, has led to a paradox: despite rapid economic and technological progress, humanity finds itself “creating our most bitter divisions and our worst nightmares.”

A difficult task for the Church
In response, the Pope said, the Church is called to react against the negativity that “foments division, indifference, and hostility.” This is a difficult task for the Church, which is in danger of failing to recognize the gravity of the contemporary emergency. “It’s time,” he said, “for a new vision aimed at promoting a humanism of fraternity and solidarity between individuals and peoples.”

Speaking of the future of the Academy, Pope Francis said, “We need to enter into the language of men and women today, making the Gospel message incarnate in their concrete experience.” He expressed his hope that the Pontifical Academy for Life might be “a place for courageous dialogue in the service of the common good.” In particular, the Pope spoke of the importance of seeking universal criteria for making decisions, as well as a deepening understanding of the relationship between rights and duties. He called, too, for continued study of “emergent” and “convergent” technologies, mentioning specifically information and communication technologies, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and robotics.

The unkept promise of modernity
Finally, Pope Francis said, “The kind of medicine, economy, technology, and politics that develop within the modern city of man must also, above all, remain subject to the judgment rendered by the peripheries of the earth.” We should remember, he said, “that fraternity remains the unkept promise of modernity.”

“The strengthening of fraternity,” he said in conclusion, “generated in the human family by the worship of God in spirit and truth, is the new frontier of Christianity.”

Read the full text of Pope Francis’ Letter to the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life for the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Academy.  http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190106_lettera-accademia-vita.html

 

20 FORMER LATIN AMERICAN HEADS OF STATE WRITE POPE FRANCIS

FYI: Reports are that Starbucks is set to open two stores in Rome in the fall of 2019 – one in the neighborhood of the Vatican Museums and the second in the center of Rome, a location still top secret. Starbucks debuted in Milan last year and is apparently doing well in what is known as the Reserve Roastery. The U.S. chain is due to open new stores there, including one at Milan’s Malpensa Airport.

I am curious to know the numbers at the Milan stores, in particular the number of Italians who frequent this café as opposed to tourists, foreigners and visitors. The typical Italian loves his espresso or cappuccino as prepared at home, at the neighorhood bar or a favorite bar near work. They are very loyal coffee drinkers and café customers.

20 FORMER LATIN AMERICAN HEADS OF STATE WRITE POPE FRANCIS

A fascinating article that appeared in the Rome newspaper IL MESSAGERO, written by its Vatican correspondent Franca Giansoldati: This is a translation from the Italian:

Vatican City – With a never seen before, almost spectacular initiative, 20 former Latin American heads of State have taken to pen and paper to send a shocking letter to Pope Francis, substantially contesting the appeal made on Christmas Day from the basilica loggia on the situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua, an invocation to concord between the parties in conflict Urbi et Orbi Message: “This time of blessing – Pope Bergoglio said – allows Venezuela to find harmony and all the social components to work fraternally for the development of the country and to assist the weakest sections of the population.”

According to the signatories of the letter, the appeal formulated in this way risks giving a somewhat approximate political vision of the seriousness of the general situation. In the letter sent to the Pope on the initiative of IDEA (the democratic initiative of Spain and the Americas) that also appeared in various local press organs, we read: “In this way there is no emphasis on the fact that Venezuelans are the victims of oppression of a militarized narco-dictatorship, which has no qualms about systematically conciliating the rights to life, liberty and personal integrity.”

The 20 former presidents explain to Pope Francis they are aware of his concerns about the suffering suffered by both Venezuelans and Nicaraguans. “The former are victims of the oppression of a militarized narco-dictatorship (…), the second in a wave of repression that has caused 300 deaths and 2,500 injured.” In Venezuela, they add, deliberate policies aimed at a corruption are carried out in a systematic way that is scandalizing the world while people are impoverished to the point that they no longer have even medicines. What they tell the Pope is that his appeal, structured in that way, risks being understood as “a request to the oppressed peoples, who are victims to agree with their respective torturers,” particularly in the case of Venezuela, where “there it is a government that has caused 3 million refugees” and where the prospect, for 2019, is to reach 5.4 million, according to UN figures.

“The expressions of His Holiness that we know to be in good faith and dictated by his spirit as a pastor can also be interpreted in a negative way for the majority of Venezuelans and Nicaraguans. Especially when there is currently, in both countries, a political disagreement that calls for tolerance and understanding, between forces of speech and distant narratives, within a very democratic framework “where lying is elevated to a system, where there is no freedom of the press, on the contrary, where the different voices risk prison and persecution and often death as well as the American and European human rights.

Signatories include: Oscar Arias, Costa Rica; Nicolás Ardito Barletta, Panama; Enrique Bolaños, Nicaragua; Alfredo Cristiani, El Salvador; Felipe Calderón, México; Rafael Ángel Calderón, Costa Rica; Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica; Fernando De la Rúa, Argentina; Vicente Fox, México; Eduardo Frei, Chile; César Gaviria T., Colombia; Osvaldo Hurtado, Ecuador; Luis Alberto Lacalle, Uruguay, Jamil Mahuad, Ecuador; Mireya Moscoso, Panama; Andrés Pastrana A., Colombia; Jorge Tuto Quiroga, Bolivia; Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Costa Rica; Álvaro Uribe V., Colombia; Juan Carlos Wasmosy, Paraguay. The petitioners then ask for a meeting, even at the Vatican, “under favorable circumstances”.

Since the beginning of his mandate, Pope Francis has spent himself in trying to find a way to mediate the Venezuelan crisis. He invited Maduro to the Vatican, he sent people of trust to Caracas, he followed the facts with apprehension through the bishops, the nuncio but especially through Cardinal Parolin (who was nuncio to Caracas until 2013) and the Deputy Pena Parra, recently called to the Secretariat of State. The Venezuelan stall remains one of the thorns in the side. There has been no shortage of appeals for refugees who continue to flee because of poverty, uncertainty and persecution against opponents of the system.

The Venezuelan bishops yesterday, during a plenary assembly, affirmed that Maduro’s new mandate is illegitimate. In the current situation “it’s a pity – they write – that it shouts to the heavens to want to keep the power at all costs and try to prolong the bankruptcy and inefficiency of these last decades: it is morally unacceptable! God does not want the people to suffer submitting to injustice ». Hence the urgency to arrive at a solution and a change. The bishops consider the vote of 20 May to be illegitimate for the election of the President of the Republic, as well as the National Constituent Assembly imposed by the executive branch. Therefore “the intention to start a new presidential term on 10 January 2019 – the bishops continue – is illegitimate because of its origin and opens a door to the non recognition of the government because it lacks the democratic support in justice and law”.

POPE FRANCIS REMOVES BISHOP HOLLEY FROM DIOCESE OF MEMPHIS – THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT IS A CALL TO FIDELITY, LOYALTY IN RELATIONSHIPS – POPE FRANCIS AND “SHARING THE WISDOM OF TIME”: AN ALLIANCE BETWEEN GENERATIONS

I posted a note you might find interesting at the end of the first story about the Pope removing Bishop Martin Holley from his diocese – how the Vatican used to announce resignations and how it is done now.

About the third story: I’d like to think that every grandchild might find time to sit down with their grandparents (or their great Aunts and Uncles!) to listen to their stories and to ask questions: What was life like then you were a child? Were your parents (or grandparents) born in America or did they come from another country? Did you learn another language at home? Was religion important on your home and family? What was your church? Did you know priests and nuns as you grew up? What was school like? How were holidays celebrated? Your favorite moments as a child? Favorite foods? Favorite friends? teachers? sports and games? vacations? How did you live without social media? Did you have television? What hobbies did you have? How did your parents discipline you? Did you need discipline? And so on…..Sharing the Wisdom of Time…

POPE FRANCIS REMOVES BISHOP HOLLEY FROM DIOCESE OF MEMPHIS

A statement released by the Holy See Press Office on Wednesday revealed that Pope Francis has removed Bishop Martin D. Holley from the pastoral care of the diocese of Memphis in the United States.

The statement also said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville has been appointed as temporary apostolic administrator to oversee the diocese until further notice.

The removal follows a Vatican investigation into the Diocese of Memphis in June to address concerns about major changes Bishop Holley had made.

Holley was installed as Bishop of Memphis in October 2016 after serving as Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D.C. for 12 years.

CNA/EWTN News noted that, “the removal follows a Vatican investigation into the Diocese of Memphis in June to address concerns about major changes Bishop Holley, 63, had made. Among these was the reassignment of up to two-thirds of the 60 active priests in the diocese, according to local media reports.

The apostolic visitation, as it is called, was carried out by Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta and Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. They spent three days “fact-finding” in the diocese, including conducting interviews with Memphis-area clergy and laypeople, according to Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal.

The outcome of the apostolic visitation has not been made public.

In a letter to his priests in June, reported on by The Commercial Appeal, Holley said: “Many of you may have read, seen or heard news this week that an apostolic visitation was made to our diocese. We are respectful of the confidentiality of the apostolic nunciature’s process and are thankful that some of you were invited to participate in that process.”

*** (JFL) What I have found interesting for quite some time is how the Vatican presents the resignation of a bishop compared to how we announced them when I worked at VIS, Vatican Information Service. The daily news stories came to VIS from the Secretariat of State via the Holy See Press Office. One of the young men at the press office front desk always brought us copies of that day’s papal speech or homily or some other document, including lists of nominations and resignations.

In a column entitled “Other Pontifical Acts” (namely, appointments and resignations) a resignation was presented in one of two ways:

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, date (VIS) – The Holy Father:

– Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of ABC, Germany, presented by Bishop XYZ in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

– Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of ABC, Hungary presented by Bishop XYZ upon having reached the age limit.

We presented a resignation as it came to us from the Secretariat of State and it was based on Canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law. In early years, we specifically noted the Canon, ie, Bishop So and So resigned in accordance with Canon 401, Para 1, having reached the age limit of 75.

OR: Bishop So and So resigned in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, that is, he is “less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause.”

CANON 401 §1. A diocesan bishop who has completed the seventy-fifth year of age is requested to present his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who will make provision after he has examined all the circumstances.

§2. A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.

No reference is made any more to this Canon when the Vatican announces resignations. Interesting…..

Want to see two decades of VIS stories: http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/

THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT IS A CALL TO FIDELITY, LOYALTY IN RELATIONSHIPS

Pope Francis Wednesday at the general audience continued his catechesis on the Ten Commandments, reflecting this week on the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.” He said the primary call of this Commandment is a call to fidelity and loyalty in our relationships.


We cannot love another only as long as it is convenient, he said. True love for another is revealed in fidelity, which is a characteristic of “free, mature, responsible human relationships.” Even in friendships we see that a true friend is one who is there for us even in trials.

This speaks to a real human need: the need to be loved without conditions. Without this kind of love, the Pope said, we feel incomplete, even if we often don’t recognise it. When that love is lacking, we seek to feel the emptiness within us with substitutes, which are only a reflection of true love.

So, the Pope said, we can find ourselves overestimating the value of physical attraction. Attraction is a gift from God, but it is ordered to a faithful and authentic relationship with the other person. Quoting Saint John Paul II, Pope Francis said we must learn, “with perseverance and consistency, the meaning of the body.”

“The call to married life,” Pope Francis continued, “requires an accurate discernment of the quality of the relationship,” including a suitable period of preparation. This cannot simply be a few meetings of “marriage prep” at the parish, but rather a true catechumenate. And it must be based, not simply on good will, or a vague hope that “things will work out,” but on the faithful love of God.

The Pope said that the Sixth Commandment helps us understand that fidelity is a “way of being, a style of life.” Fidelity, based on the faithfulness of Christ, must enter into our whole life, so that it permeates all our thoughts and actions.

For this to happen, the fidelity of God must enter our lives. Christ’s fidelity “can take from us an adulterous heart and give us a faithful heart,” Pope Francis said. Only He can help us to give ourselves completely, without “parentheses,” and with fidelity to the very end. Our communion with Him, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is the source of communion among ourselves, and helps us to faithfully live our commitments to one another.

POPE FRANCIS AND “SHARING THE WISDOM OF TIME”: AN ALLIANCE BETWEEN GENERATIONS

A new book published by Loyola Press highlights the wisdom of the elderly, their experiences and their insights as fundamental contributions to society. In the preface to the book, written by Pope Francis, he calls for an alliance between the young and the old to help counter the culture of waste.
By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

Pope Francis asked young and elder people to join forces to make the world a better place. Answering questions during a book launch at the Augustinianum Institute in Rome, the Pope invited young people to listen and to bond with their elders in an effort to counter a culture of waste, a growing indifference to the plight of migrants and refugees, and a dangerous resurgence of populism that spurns hatred and intolerance.
The event, dubbed as an “intergenerational conversation” presented a book published by Loyola Press and curated by Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, entitled “Sharing the Wisdom of Time”.

The book contains stories gathered from elderly persons from all over the world. Its inspiration comes from Pope Francis himself who repeatedly expresses his belief that the young can only sink roots into the soil of tradition through their relationships with the elderly.

The 175-page book fleshes out what Pope Francis said he feels “the Lord wants me to say: that there should be an alliance between the young and old people.”

In the preface, written by the Pope, he explains this alliance entails sharing the experiences of older people, heeding their advice and creating a strong bond with the new generations who are hungry for guidance and support as they prepare for their future.

“Sharing the Wisdom of Time” offers a collection of stories and wisdom from older people from 30 countries and from every walk of life.

The stories are organized in five thematic chapters: work, struggle, love, death and hope, and each chapter begins with the Pope reflecting on each theme.

Speaking off-the-cuff during the book launch, Pope Francis touched on current themes and issues such as migration and the tragedy of so many forced migrants and refugees who die during their journeys of hope and of the responsibility of policy-makers and world leaders to find solutions that safeguard the lives and dignity of all; the importance of cultivating memory so that evils – such as wars – witnessed in history are not repeated; the danger of populism that gives rise to hatred and intolerance.

POPE SURPRISES COUPLE BY OFFICIATING THEIR MARRIAGE

I know the couple in this wonderful story and knew they were married Saturday in Santo Stefano degli Abissini church inside Vatican City and I’ve seen some great photos of the ceremony taken by friends of the couple in attendance. What a lifetime of memories in just an hour!

I knew of it but did not tweet or do a FB post about it – hopefully that shows I am a better friend than a journalist!

It has been sweltering in Rome and was indeed the same inside the church on Saturday as there is no air conditioning in this centuries old church, the oldest in Vatican City State. The church is rather small and may have been hot due to the presence of the 50 or 60 people inside for the wedding. Usually, however, as many of you know who have been to Rome in the summer, if you want to stay cool on a hot and humid day, you enter a church!

St. Stephen of the Abyssinians, dedicated to Stephen the Protomartyr, is the national church of Ethiopia whose liturgy is celebrated according to the Alexandrian rite of the Ethiopian Catholic Church. In terms of architectural history, it is the oldest surviving church in the Vatican. (it’s obviously the little church on the left in this photo)

Tradition says the church was built by Pope Leo I (ca. 400–461) and named Santo Stefano Maggiore. It was rebuilt in 1159 under Pope Alexander III, who also built a monastery for Ethiopian monks next to it.

In 1479, Pope Sixtus IV restored the church and assigned it to the Coptic monks in the city. It was at this time that the name was changed to reflect that it was served by Ethiopians (Abyssinian). It was altered under Pope Gregory XI (1700–1721), and again in 1928.

In recent years the church has undergone restoration and today is used principally for weddings or celebrations of special importance for the clergy who work in the Vatican.

I have also attended several wakes for Vatican prelates in Santo Stefano, including the late Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli.

POPE SURPRISES COUPLE BY OFFICIATING THEIR MARRIAGE

A Swiss guard and his Brazilian wife-to-be were taken aback to see Pope Francis appearing unannounced in the church to bless their wedding.

By Robin Gomes (vaticanmedia)

Pope Francis on Saturday surprised a Swiss guard and his would-be Brazilian wife, by appearing un-announced in the sacristy just ahead of the wedding ceremony and decided to marry them.

Surprise!

Neither the couple nor the few attending the ceremony knew about the Pope’s surprise move, said Brazilian Father Renato dos Santos, one of those present. The priest entered the sacristy of the church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians in Vatican City to prepare for the celebration when he was taken aback by a smiling pope seated there waiting for him. The Holy Father took charge and went ahead.

“Never in my life, never would I have thought of finding the Pope in a sacristy,” Fr. dos Santos told Vatican News. The Brazilian priest noted the people inside the church were so surprised they were wondering if it was really Pope Francis. “I saw him as a true parish priest who takes care for his own sheep in the parish,” Fr. dos Santos said. “He’s always done it this way.”

Three verbs – success to marriage

The Holy Father’s homily was on three verbs: ‘to begin’, ‘to stop’, ‘to resume the journey’ – which he explained are needed to be able to live their marriage in fullness. “The Pope showed how dear to his heart marriage is,” Fr. dos Santos pointed out. “The Pope has great love for this sacrament which helps start a family and which wants to put God at the center,” he added.

POPE FRANCIS TO CELEBRATE MASS WITH 5 CHILEAN PRIESTS

POPE FRANCIS TO CELEBRATE MASS WITH 5 CHILEAN PRIESTS

FROM HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE:

Pope Francis to celebrate Mass at 4 pm today with five Chilean priests who have been his guests at the Santa Marta residence since yesterday, June 1. He will have individual meetings with these priests. The aim of these meetings is to look more deeply into the reality lived by part of the faithful and the Chilean clergy. With the help of these five priests the Pope will try to put an end to the internal rupture in the community. Thus, one can begin to rebuild a healthy relationship between the faithful and their pastors once everyone becomes aware of their own wounds.