PAPAL CATECHESIS ON BAPTISM, STRENGTH AGAINST EVIL – HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE COMMUNIQUES

Today, April 25, is Liberation Day, a national holiday in Italy that marks the fall of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic and the end of the Nazi occupation in Italy in 1945, towards the end of the Second World War. I always know when it’s a holiday in Rome – even without a calendar – because of the extreme quiet in the neighborhood. Many stores are closed and there’s little traffic and hardly any movement or noise on the streets adjacent to my building, just across from Vatican City. I don’t know what it’s like in the center of Rome or around historic monuments but I know I’m loving the peace and quiet!

On another topic: We all have interests and passions and hobbies, whether in the fields of sports, handicrafts, the arts, travel, languages, libraries, cuisine, or merely collecting items – stamps, coins, dolls or, as I do, plates and bells. When it comes to my interest in languages and travel and history, I think you know of my passion for the Middle East and the Holy Land, for the story of the Catholic Church, for the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, in that part of the world.

If you have a similar interest, I’d like to point you to an excellent site for news from and about that region: http://en.abouna.org/en/world

Fr. Rifat Bader, a friend of mine from Jordan, began this site years ago. He also launched CCSM – the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan – on April 25, 2012 to serve as a media arm for the Latin Patriarchate. By the way, the word “abouna” in the website means “father.” Happy anniversary, Abouna Rifat and CCSM!

Father Rifat and I met over the years in his native Jordan, in both Cyprus and Lebanon during trips by Pope Benedict, in the Holy Land for Francis’ three-day trip in 2014 and a number of times here in Rome. When it was just a seed, the CCSM was the subject of many of our conversations and emails and I am delighted to follow its success.

Another fascinating link: You can access the annual magazine of the Grand Magisterium of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, “Jerusalem Cross” here: http://www.oessh.va/content/ordineequestresantosepolcro/en/media/le-nostre-pubblicazioni/la-croce-di-gerusalemme-2017.html

PAPAL CATECHESIS ON BAPTISM, STRENGTH AGAINST EVIL

Pope Francis bases his General Audience catechesis on Philippians 4:12-13: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me”. Through our Baptismal anointing we receive the strength needed for the spiritual struggle.

By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews)

Pope Francis continued reflecting on the Sacrament of Baptism during the catechesis portion of the Wednesday General Audience. He focused on the anointing with the oil of catechumens that is part of the Rite of Baptism.

Faith is a response to the Gospel

Those who request Baptism have responded to the Gospel that has prompted them to believe, the Pope said. They have learned how to listen to Jesus’ teaching and works. They experience the thirst of the Samaritan woman. Their eyes are opened like the blind man. They come forth from the dead like Lazarus.

Not alone

Those who approach the baptismal font are accompanied by the entire Church. This is concretely expressed with the Litany of the Saints before the exorcism and anointing with the oil of catechumens at the beginning of the Rite of Baptism. “They are gestures that, since ancient times, assure those who are preparing to be reborn as children of God that the prayer of the Church assists them in the fight against evil”, Pope Francis said.

Strength against evil

Pope Francis reminded those present that Jesus “fought against and cast out demons to manifest that the kingdom of God had come” (cf Mt 12:28). His victory over evil is a clear sign of his lordship. Through Baptism, which is not magic but a “gift of the Holy Spirit”, Jesus gives us the ability “to fight against the spirit of evil”. Pope Francis cited the Baptismal Rite: “God sent his Son into the world to destroy the power of satan and to transfer man from darkness to the kingdom of infinite light”.

Anointing with oil

The Baptismal candidates receive a second anointing on their chest. Pope Francis explained that long ago, “fighters would cover themselves with oil in order to tone their muscles and in order to more easily escape their enemy’s grasp”. Unpacking this sacramental sign, Pope Francis concluded his catechesis saying that the Christian life is one long, tiring struggle against evil. But we are accompanied by “Mother Church who prayers that her children, regenerated by Baptism, might not succumb to the snares of the evil one, but might conquer by the power of Christ’s Passover.” Therefore, “we too can repeat with the faith of St Paul: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

At the end of the audience, Francis made the following appeal:

Next Friday, April 27 in Panmunjom, an inter-Korean summit will be held in which the leaders of the two Koreas – Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un – will take part. Such an encounter will be a good occasion to start a transparent dialogue and a concrete path of reconciliation and rediscovered fraternity with the goal of guaranteeing peace on the Korean peninsula and in the entire world.

I assure the Korean people, who so ardently desire peace, of my personal prayer and the closeness of the entire Church. The Holy See accompanies, supports and encourages every useful and sincere initiative to build a better future, as the sign of an encounter and friendship among people.

I ask those responsible for direct political talks to have the courage of hope, to make yourselves artisans of peace while I also exhort you to pursue with trust the path undertaken for the common good.

As God is the Father of all and the Father of peace, I invite you to pray the Our Father, God, Father of all, for the Korean people, those in the South and those in the North.

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE COMMUNIQUES

I. Next July 7, Pope Francis will travel to Bari (on Italy’s Adriatic coast), window to the East that is the guardian of the the relics of St. Nicholas, for a day of reflection on and prayer for the dramatic situation in the Middle East that afflicts so many of our brothers and sisters in the faith. He intends to invite to this ecumenical encounter for peace the Heads of Churches and Christian communities in that region. As of now, Pope Franccis exhorts all to prepare for this event with prayer.

II. POPE TO RECEIVE CHILEAN ABUSE VICTIMS THIS WEEKEND

(I published this earlier this morning as a separate column) – In response to questions by journalists about an encounter of the Holy Father Francis with several victims of abuse in Chile, Holy See press office director Greg Burke this morning declared the following:

“This coming weekend the Holy Father will receive at the Santa Marta residence three victims of abuse committed by clergy in Chile; respectively Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andres Murillo.

The Pope thanks them for having accepted his invitation. During these days of personal and fraternal encounter he wants to ask pardon of them and to share their pain and his shame for what they have suffered, and above all listen to all their suggestions with the scope of avoiding that such terrible facts repeat themselves.

The Pope will receive victims individually, allowing each one to speak for all the time they need.

The Holy Father asks for prayers for the church in Chile in this very sad moment, expressing the hope that these encounters can take place in a climate of serene trust and that they might be a fundamental step to remedy and to avoid for all time abuses of conscience, power and, in particular, sexual abuse in the heart of the Church.”

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C9 COUNCIL OF CARDINALS CONTINUES STUDY OF CURIA REFORM – POPE MEETS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, TALKS HOPE AT WEEKLY AUDIENCE – THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

C9 COUNCIL OF CARDINALS CONTINUES STUDY OF CURIA REFORM

A briefing was held at the Holy See Press Office this morning to summarize the 18th meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals that ended a three-day meeting that began Monday, February 13.

Press office Vice Director Paloma Garcia Ovejero noted that Pope Francis was not present for the second part of the Monday morning meeting because of the ad limina visit of the of Costa Rica. He was absent this morning due to the weekly general audience but will be present at the afternoon session of the C9. Following is the summary of this week’s meetings:

c9

On Monday and Tuesday the Cardinals concelebrated Mass with the Pope.

Following their first meeting on February 13, the Cardinals released the following statement through the Holy See Press Office:

The Council of Cardinals began its eighteenth session today.

At the beginning, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the group, after greeting the Holy Father, thanked him on behalf of all the Members for his words in the Christmas address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2016, acknowledging his encouragement and guidance for the work of the Council. In relation to recent events, the Council of Cardinals pledges its full support for the Pope’s work, assuring him at the same time of its adhesion and loyalty to the figure of the Pope and to his Magisterium.

The working sessions of the Council’s meeting took place each morning from 9:00-12:30, and each afternoon from 16:30-19:00; and were dedicated to further considerations concerning the different curial dicasteries. In particular, they continued the discussion on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide), the Congregation for Oriental Churches, and the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The cardinals also began their examination of the “Diakonia of Justice,” and thus considerable time was dedicated to the tribunals: the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura, and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

During the meetings, the Council also studied the process for the selection of candidates to the Episcopate.

Cardinal George Pell reported on his work at the Secretariat for the Economy, entrusted to him for the full realization of the economic reform requested by the Holy Father, with particular attention to the activity of personal formation and human resources.

The prefect for the Secretariat for Communications, Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, presented the current state of the reform of the communications of the Holy See, or the unification of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center in the dicastery entrusted to him. Meetings have been initiated with the Secretariat of State, the Secretariat for the Economy, APSA, and the Labor Office to accompany this new phase of the reform. Further, the plan for restructuring Vatican Radio frequencies, and the new policies for the world of social networks were presented. Finally, there was a reflection on the project for the beginning of the reform of the Vatican publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place April 24-26, 2017.

POPE MEETS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, TALKS HOPE AT WEEKLY AUDIENCE

The Pope’s Wednesday morning meeting with the faithful took an interesting turn today when Pope Francis, before the start of the weekly audience in the Paul VI Hall, met separately with a group of indigenous attending the Third Indigenous Peoples’ Forum convened by IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Noting that they have have come together “to identify ways of giving greater economic empowerment to indigenous peoples,” Francis said: “I believe that the central issue is how to reconcile the right to development, both social and cultural, with the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories. (photo: news.va)

indigenous

He went on to say, “This is especially clear when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth. In this regard, the right to prior and informed consent should always prevail, as foreseen in Article 32 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Only then is it possible to guarantee peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation and conflict.”

Those words were seen as indirect criticism of the Trump administration’s plan, over opposition from Indian groups, to allow the building of the multi-billion dollar Dakota oil pipeline. The Vatican has said this is not the case, according to media reports.

Later, in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father continued his weekly catechesis on Christian hope, saying that God’s peace, God’s love for us, remains with us, no matter what, even in fears, sufferings and disappointment. “Christian hope then is not based on who we are or what we are capable of, but on God’s love for each one of us. May we be instruments of hope, so that our greatest boast will be of a Father who excludes no one, but opens his home to all. And may we be a people who sustain one another with this message of Christian hope.”

THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

CARDINAL RAYMOND BURKE HAS BEEN SENT TO GUAM to oversee a Church trial that is investigating accusations of sexual abuse by Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana. The former head of the Church’s supreme court, the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and the patronus of the Order of Malta, arrived today in Guam and will start meetings with witnesses Thursday morning. Cardinal Burke will preside a five-member “tribunal of the first instance” that was set up for this case last fall. Four other bishops acting as judges are also members of this tribunal. When Abp. Apuron, who claims he is innocent of the charges made as long ago as the 1970s, refused to resign, Pope Francis named a former Detroit auxiliary bishop as coadjutor, giving him full authority over the archdiocese. Bishop Michael Byrnes was named to this post last October by Pope Francis. Prior to that appointment, Pope Francis had named Abp. Savio Hon Tai Fai, secretary of the Congregation for Evangelization, to oversee the Catholic Church on Guam.

ORDER OF MALTA GOVERNING COUNCIL TO CONVENE APRIL 29 TO ELECT NEW GRAND MASTER – The electing body will meet in the Order’s Magistral Villa in Rome. On 29 April the Council Complete of State, the Order’s constitutional body, will elect the next Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta (or, as provided for in the Constitution, a Lieutenant of the Grand Master, to hold office for a year). Following the resignation of the 79th Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing, on 28 January, the government of the Order of Malta – the Sovereign Council – met this morning in Rome, and established the April date.

POPE FRANCIS MEETS WITH VICTIMS OF SEX ABUSE

POPE FRANCIS MEETS WITH VICTIMS OF SEX ABUSE

Pope Francis held a private meeting with victims of clerical sex abuse in Philadelphia on Sunday (27th September) and told bishops afterwards that such crimes “must no longer be held in secret” and promised on behalf of the Church “the accountability of all.” He met with three women and two men who had been sexually abused as children. The Pope said he remained “overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm.  I am profoundly sorry. God weeps.”  He thanked the bishops for all they have down to “shine the light of Christ” on the “evil” of the sexual abuse of children. The Pope’s remarks came during an address with bishops attending the World Meeting of Families on the final day of his pastoral visit to the U.S.  (photo: news.va – afp)

POPE- ABUSE VICTIMS

The half hour meeting – between 8 and 9 am Sunday – took place at the St Charles Borromeo seminary in Philadelphia on the last day of the Pope’s visit to the United States. The abuse survivors were accompanied by the Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, as well as the Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and by Bishop Fitzgerald who heads the local diocesan office for child protection.

In a statement the head of the Holy See press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said the Pope spoke with each survivor, listening to their stories and praying together with them. Fr. Lombardi said the Holy Father expressed his “participation in their suffering” as well as his pain and sense of shame for those who had been abused by members of the clergy. The statement said some of the five victims had also been abused by their teachers or members of their own families. Pope Francis renewed his personal commitment, and that of the whole Church, to ensure that survivors are “listened to and treated with justice”,  that those responsible are punished, and that such crimes are effectively combatted and prevented in the Church and in society. He also thanked the survivors for their “essential contribution” in establishing the truth and embarking on a “path of healing.” (Vatican Radio)