THE SYNOD IN PICTURES – POPE WELCOMES PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA – CARDINAL PAROLIN CELEBRATES MASS FOR PEACE ON KOREAN PENINSULA – LOOKING BACK: HOLY SEE NUNCIO TO KOREA, THE TRUMP VISIT, THE CHURCH IN KOREA

THE SYNOD IN PICTURES

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2018-10/synod-youth-2018-pope-photo-gallery.html

POPE WELCOMES PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA

Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience H.E. Mr. Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and with H.E. Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. (AP photos)

During the cordial discussions, the parties evoked the good bilateral relations and the positive contribution offered by the Church in the social, education and healthcare sectors, as well as the promotion of dialogue and reconciliation between Koreans.

Strong appreciation was expressed for the common commitment to fostering all useful initiatives to overcome the tensions that still exist in the Korean Peninsula, in order to usher in a new season of peace and development. Finally, some matters of a regional nature were discussed.

FROM AP: South Korea’s president has met with Pope Francis in a private audience, and his office says that the pontiff indicated his willingness to visit North Korea.
The South Korean presidential office said in a statement that President Moon Jae-in “conveyed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s desire for a papal visit to North Korea”.

A formal invitation directly from North Korea will follow.
The office said Francis said that, “if the invitation comes, I will surely respond to it, and I can possibly go”.

Mr Kim initially indicated his desire for a papal visit during a Korean summit last month.

If it materialises, such a visit would be the first by a pope to North Korea.

CARDINAL PAROLIN CELEBRATES MASS FOR PEACE ON KOREAN PENINSULA
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrated Mass Wednesday evening in St. Peter’s Basilica and prayed for peace in the Korean peninsula, saying that peace without crosses and tribulations is not the peace of Jesus.

Present at the Mass were visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in (a Catholic), his wife, a large group of Korean faithful, a hundred priests and missionaries, some bishops and many representatives of the Holy See’s diplomatic corps.

The Holy See Press Office had announced that Cardinal Parolin would celebrate the Mass on the eve of a meeting between Moon and Pope Francis.

In his homily, Cardinal Parolin said that they were praying for peace in the world, especially in the Korean Peninsula, so that “after so many years of tension and division, the word peace may finally fully resound.”

Peace – God’s gift amidst tribulations
The secretary of State said that, “peace is built by daily choices, by a serious commitment to the service of justice and solidarity, by the promotion of the rights and dignity of the human person, and especially by caring for the weakest”. “But, for the one who believes, peace, first of all, is a gift that comes from above, from God Himself.”

The cardinal pointed out that peace is something lived concretely in daily life, as Pope Francis often repeats, “a peace in the midst of tribulations”. This is why the peace promised by Jesus is not the as the world gives but as He gives.

Citing Pope Francis again, who said that the world often “anaesthetizes us so that we do not see another reality of life, which is the cross,” the Vatican Secretary of State said that the peace that God offers us goes beyond merely earthly expectations. “It is not the fruit of a simple compromise, but a new reality, which involves all the dimensions of life, even the mysterious ones of the cross and the inevitable sufferings of our earthly pilgrimage. For this reason, he said, Christian faith teaches us that, “a peace without the cross is not the peace of Jesus”.

Educating to love and build peace
Cardinal Parolin also recalled St. Pope Paul VI, who in his message for the Church’s first “World Day of Peace” in 1968, cited St. John XXIII saying, “We must always speak of peace. The world must be educated to love peace, to build it up and defend it.” “Against the resurgent preludes to war […]we must arouse in the men of our time and of future generations the sense and love of peace founded upon truth, justice, freedom and love.”

The Vatican secretary of State urged all to implore God for the grace to make peace an authentic mission in today’s world, trusting in the mysterious power of Christ’s cross and resurrection.

“With God’s grace,” he said, “the path of forgiveness becomes possible, the choice of fraternity among peoples becomes a concrete fact, peace becomes a shared horizon even in the diversity of those who make up the international community.”

LOOKING BACK: HOLY SEE NUNCIO TO KOREA, THE TRUMP VISIT, THE CHURCH IN KOREA

NUNCIO IN KOREA: SINGAPORE SUMMIT IS TRULY HISTORIC

The Apostolic Nuncio to Korea Archbishop Alfred Xuereb comments on the outcome of the summit.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Korea and Mongolia, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb hailed Tuesday’s “truly historic” summit between the US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He said the Church is “full of hope and confidence” but warned, “we’re still at the beginning of a long process.”

Long and arduous road

Speaking from Seoul in an interview with Vatican News, Archbishop Xuereb said that the Korean people and the local Church had been anxiously awaiting “these truly historic events.” He described the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “marking an important page at the beginning of a long and arduous road” (towards peace).

At the same time, said Archbishop Xuereb, “we are hopeful because this beginning was very positive, very good” and we’ve moved from rhetoric and words like “fire and fury” and “the complete devastation of North Korea” to more conciliatory words that speak about peace.

Novena for peace

Saying the Church in Korea is living these events “with great faith,” the Nuncio described how the Catholic Cathedral in Seoul has been holding special prayers for peace and reconciliation every Tuesday. He also said the Catholic Bishops of Korea have proposed a novena from the 17th to the 25th of June to pray for peace, reconciliation and unity on the Korean peninsula.

In the wake of this historic summit and the more conciliatory climate engendered by it, Archbishop Xuereb said the Church prays for the evangelization of North Korea.
“The Holy See wishes to offer its support to any initiative in favour of dialogue and reconciliation and also take advantage of this to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to North Korea,” he said. (https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/nuncio-in-korea-singapore-summit-is-truly-historic-church-in-korea-launches-novena-for-peace-on-korean-peninsula/)

CHURCH IN KOREA LAUNCHES NOVENA FOR PEACE ON KOREAN PENINSULA

The Catholic Church in Korea has proposed a novena for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula as a series of summits and declarations mark the way for new diplomatic relationships between the two Koreas and with the United States.
By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews June 12, 2018))

The Catholic Church in Korea has proposed a novena from 17 to 25 June to pray for peace, reconciliation and unity on the Korean peninsula.

As leaders of the United States and North Korea held an historic Summit in Singapore on June 12, the Korean Church called for a novena of prayer and organized a conference for reconciliation and unity between the two Koreas who technically are still at war since the Korean Armistice Agreement signed in 1953.

Singapore Summit

After the Singapore Summit, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un signed a “comprehensive” document, promising a new relationship between the nations and committing North Korea to work towards “the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Just over a month ago the leaders of North and South Korea, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un signed an agreement in which they agreed to pursue talks on a peace treaty as well as denuclearization.

Panmunjom Agreement

In the 27 April Panmunjom Agreement, the two leaders committed to bring a swift end to the Cold War relic of longstanding division and confrontation, to boldly approach a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, and to improve and cultivate inter-Korean relations in a more active manner.

The Catholic Bishops of Korea have indicated a different prayer intention for each day: For healing following the separation of the Korean people; for families who have been separated by the Korean war; for the brothers and sisters who live in the North; for refugees from the North who currently live in the South; for politicians of the North and the South; for the evangelization of the North; for the promotion of exchange and dialogue between South and North; for true reconciliation between the two nations; for the peaceful reunification of the peninsula.

A Conference on the future of the Korean peninsula

The Bishops are also promoting a Conference on 21 June to take place at the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Daegu. Dedicated to a new future of the Korean peninsula thanks to fruitful exchanges between South and North, the event foresees the participation of the Bishops of Uijeongbu and Daegu as well as a panel of experts.

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POPE ON FIFTH COMMANDMENT: INSULT AND CONTEMPT CAN ALSO KILL – LISTENING TO VOICES OF REASON AT THE SYNOD

POPE ON FIFTH COMMANDMENT: INSULT AND CONTEMPT CAN ALSO KILL

By Seàn-Patrick Lovett (vaticannews)
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Deeper meaning
At the general audience today in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said that, read in the context of St John’s Gospel, “Jesus reveals a deeper meaning of this commandment”. Even anger against a sister or brother “is a form of murder”. But Jesus does not stop at this, continued the Pope: in the same logic, Jesus adds that even insult and contempt can kill.

It would be nice if this teaching of Jesus were to enter into our minds and hearts”, said Pope Francis, “because Jesus ss to us: ‘If you despise, if you insult, if you hate, this is murder’ “.

Seek reconciliation
The Pope reminded his audience how Jesus invites us to reconcile ourselves with those who have offended us, before we offer our sacrifice in the temple. “When we go to Mass, we too should have this attitude of reconciliation”, he said. Pope Francis gave the concrete example of people gossiping about others as they wait for the priest to begin celebrating: “We chat a little and we talk badly about others. But this cannot be done.” Jesus equates insult, contempt and hatred with killing, he said.

Indifference kills
The Pope continued to provide concrete examples, pointing out how we all possess a sensitive, hidden self that is no less important than our physical self. An “inappropriate phrase”, he said, is enough “to offend the innocence of a child. To hurt a woman, a gesture of coldness is enough. To break a young person’s heart, it is enough to deny them confidence. To annihilate someone, it is enough to ignore them.” Indifference kills, concluded Pope Francis. “Not loving is the first step to killing; and not killing is the first step to loving”.

Antidotes to killing
“Human life needs love”, said the Pope.

“None of us can survive without mercy, we all need forgiveness”, he continued. “So, if killing means destroying, suppressing, eliminating someone, then not killing means taking care of, giving value to, including. And forgiving”.

The Commandment, “Do not kill”, is a call to love and mercy, said Pope Francis. “It is a call to live according to the Lord Jesus”. The Pope then invited all those in St Peter’s Square to remember and to repeat this simple phrase: “Doing no harm is a good thing. But not doing good is not good”. We must always do good, he said.

LISTENING TO VOICES OF REASON AT THE SYNOD

ARCHBISHOP JOSE GOMEZ

(CNA).- Young people should look to the “saints of our times,” as models of holiness, Archbishop José Gomez told the Synod of Bishops on Tuesday. The Archbishop of Los Angeles highlighted the example of the seven recently canonized saints in his speech to the assembly.

Gomez spoke Oct. 16 during the fifteenth ordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops, currently meeting in Rome to discuss young people, the faith, and vocational discernment. The session continues until Oct. 28.

In looking to saints, of which there are examples from “every continent,” young people will be inspired to live their vocation as “everyday saints” in their own unique way, Archbishop Gomez said. He also called on his brother bishops to be a model of sainthood for young people.

“We need to show young people what holiness looks like, by living the Gospel we preach, proclaiming Jesus Christ by the way we live. We need to call young people to be saints — and we need to be saints ourselves,” he said.

Gomez emphasized that calling young people to “conversion and new life in Christ” should be a priority in the synod’s final conclusions, and that the Church is called to serve and accompany young people on that journey.

This involves, he said, setting an example of how to pray, helping young people meet the Lord in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession, encouraging them to perform works of mercy for the poor, and cultivating a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Sadly, young people today do not know how to live authentic human lives because the adults of our secular society have not shown them the way,” Gomez said.

“The vision for life offered to young people in Western societies does not call them to goodness or beauty or truth. Instead, what is offered are various life ‘styles’ and alternatives for self-creation rooted in the restless consumption of material comforts, virtual entertainments, and passing pleasures,” he said.

The archbishop said that in his conversations with young people in his own diocese he came to see that the Church did offer the answers they were seeking.

“In the Incarnation of the Son of God and in his Passion and Resurrection, we see revealed the dignity and destiny of the human person, created in God’s image and called to live by his Spirit as a child of God and to be saints — to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy,” Gomez said.

Archbishop Gomez, along with seven auxiliary bishops, leads the largest archdiocese in the country, with over 4 million Catholics out of a total population of over 11 million.

CARDINAL ROBERT SARAH:

(Catholic Herald – UK) Young people are idealistic and want clarity, the cardinal said
Just because some young people disagree with Catholic moral teaching, including in the area of sexuality, it does not mean the Church’s teachings are unclear or should change, Cardinal Robert Sarah told the Synod of Bishops.

The Church and its pastors should “courageously propose the Christian ideal corresponding to Catholic moral doctrine and not water it down, hiding the truth to attract young people to the bosom of the Church,” the cardinal told the synod on Tuesday.

Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, noted how in preparation for the synod, some young people asked the Church to be clear in presenting its teaching on “some questions that are particularly close to their hearts: freedom across the board and not only in sexual relations, nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation, equality between men and women, including in the Church, etc.”

Others, however, “demand not only a discussion that is open and without prejudice, but also a radical change, a real and true U-turn by the Church in its teaching in these areas,” he said.

The Church’s teaching may not be shared by everyone, the cardinal said, but no one can say that it is not clear. However, there may be “a lack of clarity on the part of some pastors in explaining the doctrine” and that requires “a profound examination of conscience.”

Cardinal Sarah pointed to the Gospel story of the rich young man who asked Jesus what he must do to obtain eternal life; Jesus told him to sell all he had and follow him.

“Jesus did not lower the requirements of his call” and neither should the Church, the cardinal said.

In fact, he said, one characteristic of young people is their idealism and lofty goals, not only regarding their professional and personal ambitions, but also in the areas of “justice, transparency in the fight against corruption (and) in respect for human dignity.”

“Undervaluing the healthy idealism of the young” is a serious error and sign of a lack of respect, he said. It also “closes the door to a real process of growth, maturation and holiness.”

On the other hand, the cardinal said, “by respecting and promoting the idealism of young people, they can become the most precious resource for a society that wants to grow and improve.”

IRAQI DELEGATE AT SYNOD: YOUNG PEOPLE NEED A “FAST RESPONSE” – SYNOD OF BISHOPS: “HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO FIND DAWN IN TWILIGHT”

I posted news yesterday on Facebook about the canonization ceremony for seven news saints during Mass in St. Peter’s Square, including St. Pope Paul VI and murdered Salvadoran Archbishop St. Oscar Romero.

If you tune it tonight to EWTN’s “At Home with Jim and Joy,” you will hear me share two interesting stories about the first Pope I ever spoke to, the new saint, Paul VI. John XXIII was the first Pope I ever saw in a general audience but no words were exchanged.

It was a very busy morning today for Pope Francis as he addressed thousands of pilgrims who had come to Rome for St. Romero’s canonization, welcomed the president of Poland and later, in the Secretariat of State, presented the new Substitute for General Affairs, 58-year old Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra. Appointed by Pope Francis on 15 August, he succeeds Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was recently named Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The Romero pilgrims –

Read on for synod news: I am puzzled by some words, a bad translation probably, in one part of the press briefing, as you can see here:  Fr Marco Tasca, O.F.M., the Franciscan General, said that he has been reflecting on St Francis of Assisi who had to make a radical choice to follow a different lifestyle. He said that this is what the Church offers today. Listening, he said, has been key. He told a story that he heard about a bishop who visited a family. A young person in the house told the bishop that he is fake. He said that the bishops responded by asking the young person to help him not to be fake.

IRAQI DELEGATE AT SYNOD: YOUNG PEOPLE NEED A “FAST RESPONSE”

Iraqi auditor, Mr Safa al Abbia, speaks about his experience of the Synod and the response to his presentation to the Synod assembly.
(vaticannews – Russell Pollitt, SJ)

Mr Safa al Abbia is a 26-year-old Chaldean Catholic dentist from Iraq. He was invited to the Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment currently underway in Rome.

His plea to the Bishops is that the universal Church helps young people in Iraq who are being persecuted for their faith. He explained that the main challenge for youth in Iraq is “peace and stability and their right to live in dignity.”

In his intervention at the Synod, which ended with rapturous applause, he told the Bishops that young people were struggling to remain as faithful witnesses to Jesus and hold onto their traditions, values and liturgy. He said that many of them have watched their brothers and sisters being martyred and their churches bombed.
He also related a painful experience. He said that he will never forget the face of his friends who, after Mass, said, “See you next week”. He never saw them again because they were “burned under the fire of the bombed car” near their church.

He told Pope Francis that he had a message for him from the young people of Iraq: “They hope one day to see you in Iraq.”

He said that he had two important experiences at the Synod: First, that he was able to tell the world what was happening in Iraq because it was important that others knew the inside story. He said he felt supported by many who were at the Synod who heard his story. Second, he discovered that many young people across the world are suffering for different reasons. He mentioned sexuality, social media and the breakdown of family life. He said that it was important because knowing what happens in other places means that young people can support each other in all sorts of ways – including through prayer and by helping people rebuild what has been destroyed.

Mr Al Abbia said that he believes that he was really heard at the Synod. He said that after the applause he received in the general assembly, many people came to him and asked how they could help the people of Iraq.

He hopes that the Synod will, in the end, result in an accurate account of reality. He does not want the Synod to be “saying a speech and clapping and support [for] the talk” but a real “positive feedback” of reality on the ground, the lived experiences of many young people.

He says that he had more than one opportunity to speak to Pope Francis. Smiling broadly he says that the first time he met the Holy Father he could not speak because he was so stunned to be standing in front of the Pope. He tells of how, in Brazil, at World Youth Day, they only saw the Pope in the distance. Now he stood before him!

The second time he met Pope Francis he says he asked him to pray for his country in general but also for all the Christians of Iraq and for him and his family.

The third time he met the Pope he made a video, asking the Holy Father to give a message to the young people of Iraq which he intends playing to them next week when the young people of Iraq will gather to pray for the Synod currently underway.

He said that Pope Francis is a wonderful person.

The Holy Father responded telling him that he would pray for the people of Iraq. Mr Al Abbia explains how, when talking about Iraq, he sees a real sadness in the Pope’s eyes.

At the end of his speech he told the Pope that the Iraqi people, especially young people, hope he will visit the country. He says that the Holy Father laughed when he heard that.

Mr Al Abbia said that his message to the world is to ask for prayer for Iraq. He also says “do not forget us.” He said that he realises that there is a lot of suffering in the world and maybe the attention of the world has shifted to places like Syria. Although the situation in Iraq is a bit better, he says that nothing is guaranteed. “Don’t forget us because we have a wonderful group of young people that are steadfast in their faith, salt to the earth as Jesus said.”

He says that he is afraid that young people in Iraq will lose their faith and become hopeless. This he believes leads to two possibilities: young people leave the Church or immigrate from Iraq. He said that in 2003 there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, now there are only 400 thousand. This is a “miserable thing!” He reminds the world that Christianity was in Iraq from the first century.

“It is not possible to say, one day, oh there were Christians in Iraq, no, the Christians have to still be in Iraq. This is the message, we need the world to support us and at the same time we support all the young people around the world and we pray for them and their countries and their families.”

He says that the biggest challenge of this Synod will be that young people are waiting for results, they want “fast results.” He says that young people are tired and bored and they want something that reflects reality.

Mr Al Abbia said that in an email he was told that the Synod was a waste of money, that the Vatican brought people from all over the world and that this could have be done through electronic means, like Skype. He said that it was important that people came together in Rome, to share their stories like he shared his. He said that being able to share his story helped him tell the world, for example, about what is really happening in Iraq.

He said that it was important that the Church listened to young people and then responded. He adds, “but we need a fast response.”

Mr Al Abbia had to return to Iraq soon after doing this interview. His mother is unwell and he needed to be with her. He told Vatican News that he could not come back to the Synod of Bishops on Young people because his visa only allowed him one entry into the EU.

SYNOD OF BISHOPS: “HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO FIND DAWN IN TWILIGHT”

Three General Superiors and an auditor from Chile were present at the daily press briefing on the Synod of Bishops on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment
By Russell Pollitt, SJ (vatiannews)

The message of young people to bishops

Ms Silvia Teresa Retamales Morales said that it was a great privilege and responsibility for her to be at the Synod. She said that she was here to express the voices of all those young people who wanted to come to Rome and talk to the bishops. She says that when the young heard she was coming to the Synod they reached out to her, many of whom were non-Catholic. They told her that they wanted her to bring this message: they want a multi-cultural Church that is open to all, not a Church this is judgmental. They want a Church that makes everyone feel at home, a Church that reflects the message of Jesus Christ. She also said that young people say that the Church should not discriminate against minorities – especially people of different sexual orientations and the poor.

Addressing, specifically, homosexuality, she said that young people believe that gay people have the same rights as everyone else and that they too want to live their faith in the Church. She says that she sees discrimination, people who are not open to gays. She said that the Church’s first mandate is love. Gay people must be fully recognised as brothers and sisters that need to be accompanied by us. She said that this had been discussed in the Synod assembly.

Ms Morales said that young people also want women to be given a bigger role and responsibility in the Church. In Chile, she said, women are becoming more empowered in both society and in the Church, they must be given more responsibility.

Opportunity for a renewed mission

Fr Arturo Sosa, S.J., said that many challenges, like secularisation and the digital world, are an opportunity to renew the mission of the Church to proclaim the Gospel. He said that the challenge of how to educate young people in an unpredictable world needs consideration.

Fr Sosa also said that a sign of our times is migration and the way that migrants are treated in every country. Migrants, he said, are people who are looking for a better life. He said that the reaction to migrants and refugees shows us just how inhumane we are becoming. He said we need to understand why people leave their countries and also why there is massive internal movement. He says this necessitates that we ask questions like why democracy seems to be weakening and nationalism is on the rise and how this is linked to migration.

The Jesuit Superior General said that people are helped in emergency situations but that he was also shocked to see how much time refugees spend in camps, some most of their lives. Can you imagine what happens to young men and women who spend their lives in refugee camps, he asked. He explained that the Jesuits are trying to use technology, the digital world, to provide education in the camps.

Listening must move to action

Dominican General, Fr Bruno Cadoré, said that Church, through the Synod, wants to pass from listening to conversation. He says that the preparation for the Synod was accurate and detailed and that young people were listened to inside and outside of the Church.

Fr Marco Tasca, O.F.M., the Franciscan General, said that he has been reflecting on St Francis of Assisi who had to make a radical choice to follow a different lifestyle. He said that this is what the Church offers today. Listening, he said, has been key. He told a story that he heard about a bishop who visited a family. A young person in the house told the bishop that he is fake. He said that the bishops responded by asking the young person to help him not to be fake. Fr Tasca said that this is the meaning of the word listening: being open to what young people say, their style. He said that the Synod was taking place to build the Church, together. He said that the Synod must move from listening to conversation so that the Church can find its way. He said that sometimes it is “difficult to find dawn in twilight.”

Fr Sosa said that he personally believed that Vatican II introduced an ecclesiological model that has not become a reality. He said that we made some progress and then took steps back. He said that at the heart of that model is that the people of God are in the centre. This model, he said, needs to be embodied in history.

Fr Cadoré said that a hallmark of the Church is that it is open to change, orientated towards the future.

At the briefing Dr Paolo Ruffini, the Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications, clarified that on Saturday 27 Oct. 2018 the Synod Father’s will vote paragraph by paragraph on the final document. Each paragraph needs a two-third majority to be part of the final text.

The question of women auditors being allowed to vote was asked again. The Superiors present reminded journalists that this was a Synod of Bishops and the Church is marked by its culture. Fr Sosa said that Pope Francis wants a deeply synodal Church so changes might be forthcoming. He said that the discomfort with this is important as it means something is not right and it needs to be addressed.

VATICAN INSIDER LOOKS BACK AT THE SYNOD – POPE FRANCIS ACCEPTS CARDINAL WUERL’S RESIGNATION

Don’t miss the weekend festivities in Rome! Stay with EWTN for the canonization on Sunday of, among others, Blessed Pope Paul VI and Blessed Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, killed while celebrating Mass.

Paul VI’s tomb in the grottoes will have a new look….hope to bring those photos to you soon.

VATICAN INSIDER LOOKS BACK AT THE SYNOD

This week I feature a longer than usual news segment on Vatican Insider, focusing on the synod of bishops, and my radio colleagues are preparing a “best of” for the rest of the program. That is because I have basically been homebound for about 9 days with a very painful muscle-related back problem. The people I hoped to interview are very busy with the synod and unable to come to my office for a conversation – and I can’t get out to go to them! I have been out to go to pharmacies but therapy so far has had no effect and I actually am going to see a doctor the minute I post this. Let’s hope things improve by next week!

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POPE FRANCIS ACCEPTS CARDINAL WUERL’S RESIGNATION

Pope today accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as archbishop of Washington, asking him to remain on as Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese. The cardinal submitted his resignation on November 12, 2015, when he turned 75 as is required by canon or Church law. The Pope did not name a successor.

What follows is from the Archdiocese of Washington. The cardinal did write a letter to the faithful of the archdiocese but that was not on the webpage as I prepared this column. The copy I was received could not copied to this text. The letter was sent to all priests and the cardinal requested that the letter be read at Masses this weekend.

Cardinal Wuerl resignation: Full text of Pope Francis’ letter
Please find the full text of Pope Francis’ letter to Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, in an unofficial translation made available on the website of the Archdiocese of Washington.

To our Venerable Brother Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington:

On September 21st I received your request that I accept your resignation from the pastoral government of the Archdiocese of Washington.

I am aware that this request rests on two pillars that have marked and continue to mark your ministry: to seek in all things the greater glory of God and to procure the good of the people entrusted to your care. The shepherd knows that the wellbeing and the unity of the People of God are precious gifts that the Lord has implored and for which he gave his life. He paid a very high price for this unity and our mission is to take care that the people not only remain united, but become witnesses of the Gospel “That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John17:21). This is the horizon from which we are continually invited to discern all our actions.

I recognize in your request the heart of the shepherd who, by widening his vision to recognize a greater good that can benefit the whole body (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 235), prioritizes actions that support, stimulate and make the unity and mission of the Church grow above every kind of sterile division sown by the father of lies who, trying to hurt the shepherd, wants nothing more than that the sheep be dispersed (cf. Matthew26:31).

You have sufficient elements to “justify” your actions and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes. However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this, I am proud and thank you.

In this way, you make clear the intent to put God’s Project first, before any kind of personal project, including what could be considered as good for the Church. Your renunciation is a sign of your availability and docility to the Spirit who continues to act in his Church.

In accepting your resignation, I ask you to remain as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese until the appointment of your successor.

Dear brother, I make my own the words of Sirach: “You who fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not be lost” (2:8). May the Virgin Mary protect you with her mantle and may the strength of the Holy Spirit give you the grace to know how to continue to serve him in this new time that the Lord gives you.

Cardinal Wuerl’s Statement on the Holy Father’s Acceptance of his Resignation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the news from the Vatican this morning, Cardinal Donald Wuerl has issued the following statement: “Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has accepted the resignation first offered on November 12, 2015, when I reached my 75th birthday. I am profoundly grateful for his devoted commitment to the wellbeing of the Archdiocese of Washington and also deeply touched by his gracious words of understanding.

The Holy Father’s decision to provide new leadership to the Archdiocese can allow all of the faithful, clergy, religious and lay, to focus on healing and the future. It permits this local Church to move forward. Once again for any past errors in judgment I apologize and ask for pardon. My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the Church of Washington.”

Statement from the Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Washington on the Holy Father’s Acceptance of Cardinal Wuerl’s Resignation

“We, the Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Washington, wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to His Eminence, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, for the loving pastoral care and devoted service he has provided the Archdiocese of Washington for the past 12 years.

Cardinal Wuerl’s pastoral and spiritual leadership in the archdiocese is well appreciated. We are particularly grateful for his efforts on behalf of parish life, our schools, Catholic Charities and so many other indicators of the vitality of this archdiocese including Saint John Paul II Seminary which he founded and is now filled to capacity.

We believe that Cardinal Wuerl’s decision to request that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, accept the resignation he first offered years ago is a clear manifestation of his love and concern for the people of this archdiocese. As the Holy Father stated in his letter, the Cardinal’s decision shows that he has the heart of a shepherd who places the good of the Church and its needs before his own right to justify his actions. His request and the Holy Father’s response allow the Church of Washington to continue to focus on healing and the ability to move forward.

We offer our prayers and profound gratitude to His Eminence for the service and pastoral care that he has faithfully given to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of this local Church. We accompany him with our love and support during this time of transition.”

Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville
Most Reverend Roy E. Campbell Jr.
Most Reverend Michael W. Fisher

Statement on the Retirement of Cardinal Donald Wuerl as Archbishop of Washington by Kim Viti Fiorentino Chancellor and General Counsel of the Archdiocese of Washington

The news that our Holy Father has accepted Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation as Archbishop of Washington fills me with both profound sadness and, at the same time, deep appreciation and admiration for the Cardinal’s abundant, sacrificial love for our archdiocese which he has tirelessly served for the past twelve years.

Cardinal Wuerl’s decision to ask the Holy Father to allow him to retire came after prayer and reflection, in view of the news we have all confronted. This includes the Archbishop McCarrick scandal, the Archbishop Viganò allegations and particularly the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. This report targeted six dioceses in Pennsylvania and touched upon the Cardinal’s tenure as Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988-2006 before he became our Archbishop. Unfortunately, the Cardinal’s pioneering leadership in the enhancement, implementation and enforcement of historically innovative and rigorous child protection policies was overshadowed by the report’s flaws and its interpretation by media.

Cardinal Wuerl reflected on the impact these realities have had upon the Archdiocese. As the Holy Father reflects in his letter, although he would have been justified to move forward with challenging many of the assertions that have been lodged against him, Cardinal Wuerl decided to forgo his personal interest out of love for the people entrusted to his care. He chose to take the step that would allow the Archdiocese of Washington to move beyond these difficulties and to focus, under new leadership, on healing, renewing and revitalizing our beautiful archdiocesan community, that is the Church of Washington.

We have been profoundly blessed to have this great priest as our archbishop and his final decision to act in favor of the people he loved and served for twelve years is the most eloquent witness to the integrity of his ministry and his legacy. I am truly thankful for his steadfast fidelity and his courageous and sacrificial commitment to the future of the Church in Washington.

Statement from Moderator of the Curia Archdiocese of Washington What is An Apostolic Administrator?

Today Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Donald Wuerl as Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of Washington. In this capacity, he serves as the caretaker for the Archdiocese in this time of transition. The appointment of the retiring archbishop in this capacity has occurred before in the Archdiocese of Washington.

The Administrator’s role is to keep things working normally and to preserve things insofar as is possible until the new Archbishop takes over. As a caretaker, he does not make significant changes or decisions that might affect the incoming Archbishop. The principle involved is “sede vacante nihil innovetur,” or, “When the see is vacant, let there be no innovations.”

700 POLES IN ROME TO MARK 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF JOHN PAUL’S ELECTION – ABORTION IS “LIKE HIRING A HITMAN TO SOLVE A PROBLEM” – SYNOD FINAL DOCUMENT: FOLLOWING THE FRANCIS LINE?

700 POLES IN ROME TO MARK 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF JOHN PAUL’S ELECTION

Pope Francis on Wednesday met some 700 Polish pilgrims from Krakow, who are in Rome to mark the 40th anniversary of the election of St. Pope John Paul II on Oct. 16. He greeted them in the Paul VI Hall before going to St. Peter’s Square for the weekly general audience.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

St. Pope John Paul II served as the Archbishop of Krakow from 1964 until his election as pope on 16 October, 1978.

Greeting the pilgrims from Krakow who are in Rome to mark the 40th anniversary of the election of John Paul II, Pope Francis expressed admiration for his predecessor’s great abundance of gifts, which he largely inherited from the treasure of faith and holiness of Poland and its Church.

Richness of Polish faith
Mentioning saints from Krakow such as Stanislaus and Queen Hedwig, Albert and Faustina, Pope Francis said Pope John Paul learned from them about the boundless dedication to Christ and the great sensitivity for every man, which, he said, were manifested in his priestly, episcopal and papal ministry.

John Paul II also knew how to read the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel, to make it bear fruit for the benefit of his compatriots who through various painful events of their history never lost their faith in God and were faithful to their culture rooted in the Christian spirit.

Human rights, dignity
Pope Francis said that in his fidelity to his culture and Christian faith, John Paul II sought to “ensure that the Church stood up as the guardian of the inalienable rights of man, of the family and of peoples, in order to be a sign of peace, justice and integral development for the whole human family.”

But at the same time, the Polish pope always underscored the priority of grace and obedience to God’s will, before any human calculation.

This rich heritage of John Paul II, Pope Francis said, is for Christians, especially his compatriots, a challenge to be faithful to Christ and to respond with joyful dedication to God’s call to holiness in the daily specific personal, family and social situation of everyday life.

ABORTION IS “LIKE HIRING A HITMAN TO SOLVE A PROBLEM”

Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Commandments during Wednesday’s general audience saying that welcoming life as God’s gift corrects a vision of life interpreted as a problem to be eliminated.

Francis reflected on the Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill. When life is welcomed as a gift from God, he said, the vision of interpreting life through the lens of eliminating problems can be corrected.

He reaffirmed that the Fifth Commandment is concise and to the point. It is “a defending wall for the foundational value in human relations: the value of life”, he said.

A Gift of God is not a problem

Pope Francis then noted a contradictory approach to life: the suppression of “human life in the mother’s womb in order to safeguard other values”: It is not right to ‘take out’ a human being, no matter how little, to resolve a problem. That is like hiring a hitman to resolve a problem.

Fear is the culprit

Fear leads to violence and rejection, the Pope continued. Welcoming life as a gift of God leads to accepting life in all of its expressions. He noted that parents are in need of true support should they discover that the baby they are expecting will be disabled, saying: “A sick child, …just as an elderly person, needs assistance…. He or she who is presented as a problem is in reality God’s gift who can draw me out of my self-centeredness to make me grow in love.”

God’s love is the measure for life

The world’s idols prompt people to reject life, the Pope said. Pope Francis listed these idols: money, power, and success. He called them “mistaken parameters by which to evaluate life”. Whereas “the only authentic measure for life is love, the love that God has for it!”

ENGLISH SUMMARY:
Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments, we now consider the injunction against killing. We could say that every evil is caused by a disregard for life. Assaults upon life occur in many situations, from war and exploitation to the suppression of the vulnerable, elderly and unborn. Ultimately it is fear that gives rise to the rejection of life. To welcome the other, however, challenges such fear. We see the attitude that welcomes rather than rejects life in the heart-rending concern of parents for a sick child. Their desire to protect and save is a sign of life’s precious value, seen above all in those who suffer, who are in fact God’s gift, and who help us to grow in his love. God’s love is the only authentic measure of life, whose secret is revealed by Jesus, who embraced the rejected, weak, poor and sick throughout his life and upon the cross. In the midst of our weaknesses, Christ seeks our hearts in order to reveal to us the joy of love. As the Gospel reminds us, “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

SYNOD FINAL DOCUMENT: FOLLOWING THE FRANCIS LINE?

For weeks here in Rome we have been hearing that the synod’s final document is already “a done deal,” that is, officials in the Roman Curia close to the Pope and Francis himself already knew the direction they wanted the synod to take and have been quietly putting talking points together behind the scenes.

The Instrumentum laboris or working document that came out months ago would be a guideline for synod participants but in reality contained the main points the Pope et al wanted to see in the final synod document submitted by participants that would be sent to the Pope so he could write his exhortation.

In other words, why hold the synod if things were already decided?

The Vatican today released the names of the 12 members of the Commission for the Preparation of the Final Document. They include the Relator General of the 2018 synod, the head of the Synod of Bishops, 2 special secretaries, 3 members named by the Pope and 5 elected by continent.

When I was working at the Vatican I learned that, for the Vatican, there are only 5 continents. I was always taught – and today believe – there are 7 continents: North America, South America Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctic.

In the list of 5 continental commission members, there is Vatican City (Cardinal Turkson is from Africa), Mexico, India, Italy and Australia. Only one has English as his mother tongue, Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne.

Here’s an interesting take on this issue, given the release today of the names of the members of the Commission

https://cruxnow.com/synod-of-bishops-on-youth/2018/10/10/papal-allies-and-friends-tapped-to-shape-synods-conclusions/

14 LANGUAGE GROUPS PRESENT THEIR REPORTS IN SYNOD HALL

14 LANGUAGE GROUPS PRESENT THEIR REPORTS IN SYNOD HALL

Today’s Holy See Press Office bulletin said that this morning, during the 5th General Congregation of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on young people, there was the presentation in the hall of the Reports of the 14 small language groups that had met in recent days to reflect on the first part of the Instrumentum Laboris in light of the contributions that emerged during the debate held in the previous General Congregations.

The press office bulletin then published the Reports of the 14 language groups. Many in each language group will have that language as their first language but not necessarily. For some, it might well be their second, or even their third. In many countries of the world, people speak more than one language.

There was a total of 30 pages for the reports from the 4 English groups, 3 French, 1 German, 2 Spanish, 3 Italian and 1 Portuguese. English group reports totalled 10 of the 30 pages, almost half of which came from English group C.

French group C noted that it was composed of 14 bishops, a major superior, two experts, three auditors and two assistants, representing four continents as witnesses to the diversity of the presence and participation of the young in the life of the Church.

Spanish group A began by noting it was composed of 24 synod fathers, 2 experts, 5 auditors and 2 assistants.

Italian group B announced its moderator was Cardinal Fernando Filoni, was Archbishop Bruno Forte of Cieti-Vasto.

Italian group C noted that its cardinals, bishops, auditors, experts and one fraternal delegate came from 11 countries: Italy, Egypt, Ethiopia, Hungary, Lebanon, Greece, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia, Iceland and Korea.

English group reports did not note their specific composition.

Below are the reports of the English groups. They will not really take that long to read and you’ll find the content – both the similarity and diversity of viewpoints based on cultural experience, national values, etc – quite interesting. One thing I noted was that many group reports indicated their participants thought the Instrumentum laboris was weak on faith, seeming to stress culture and current sociological trends rather than faith – bringing culture to the faith instead of emphasizing bringing the faith to culture.

Journalists received a copy of today’s bulletin with the language reports via email. I thought perhaps those who wished to read the reports in Spanish, French, Italian, German or Portuguese could do so and – as I write – tried to find that daily bulletin on the vaticannews.va website but to no avail. The Press Review section of synod2018.va is usually a day behind – check that tomorrow if you are interested.

I found it unusual that the language group reports came this early in the synod: they usually are presented much later in the process.

ANGLICUS A

It was suggested that the faith dimension, the Christological perspective could be stronger, making it clear that we are reflecting from the heart and in the light of of faith on the concrete realities of young people – just as Jesus looked with love at the rich young man’s lived experience, and as he encountered the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. Relationship is clearly the key to encounter with youth.

We have offered a “modus” to Paragraph 3 which suggests deepening the process of “recognizing; Interpreting; choosing” to include, as Evangelium Gaudium puts it: “not only recognizing and discerning spirits, but also – and this is decisive – choosing movements of the spirit of good and rejecting those of the spirit of evil” (EG 51). Our Group recommends that quotations from young people in the Aula and at the Pre-Synod would help to bring any final synod document to life, as well as providing examples of thriving “peer to peer” youth movements in various parts of the world.

We considered that the various sections on the digital world might be brought together to allow a more thorough reflection on this topic, including its potential for mission and new evangelization. We suggested that such a reflection might include a treatment of the compulsive attraction of ‘screen culture’ including cinema, mini-series and video gaming. We raised concerns about the exploitation of young people online, including the harvesting of their data, identity theft and scams. It must of course be recognized, as the young people at the Pre-Synod put it, that Technology, and especially Social Media is now understood as a permanent part of the life and identity of young people….

Since we found paragraphs 52-53 to be somewhat muddled, we have offered a modus reshaping these paragraphs to reflect the importance of the human person and the human body. We noted that a proclamation of chastity, as achievable and good for our young people, is missing from the document.

Our Group believes that the Church is called to respond to the desire of many young people for stable reference points, moorings or stepping-stones to help them navigate their way through the often contradictory messages being hurled at them from every direction. From the riches of her teaching, including from her “treasure trove” of social doctrine, the Church can offer them reasons for living and hoping. She does this best with young people by avoiding a moralistic or polemical approach – as if we had all the “ready- made” answers – but instead accompanying young people in a climate of joy and adventure of discovery. …..

However, the context for vocational discernment has changed utterly. Our Group suggests that the issue of child sexual abuse in the Church cannot be skimmed over tangentially in a few short sentences. The shattered trust, the trauma and lifelong suffering of survivors; the catastrophic failures in case management; the continued silence and denial by some of these awful crimes and sins – these issues cry out to be named openly by the Synod. We feel that as well as reassuring young people and their families that our safeguarding processes and norms are now robust and stringent, this Synod also provides an opportunity for us to prepare for February 2019 by speaking from our hearts about how we, as Synod Fathers feel about this shocking betrayal of our youth and of all the faithful. We should not be afraid to do so. If young people and their families are asking themselves: can our priest and bishop be trusted? If priests themselves are afraid to minister among the youth, then how can our Synod get out the message that young people, their faith and their vocational discernment are important to us?

As one member of our Group reminded us: “Trust arrives slowly, on foot, but Trust leaves on horseback! Trust must be rebuilt, one person at a time”. But is there another way of looking at all this? What if now, out of our fragility, we seek the caress of God’s mercy, and aim to find new ways to relate to young people, as a more humble Church, facing this reality?

ANGLICUS B

Interaction with the Youth of the World. Our small group, aware that the final document from the Synod is directed to the pope, considered how the Synod might want to present itself to young people. In itself this is starting the work of improved attentive engagement with young people that we are considering in this Synod. This is in addition to the important communication currently underway.

We propose a two-element solution. Firstly, a series of small messages, updates, perhaps at the end of each week from the Commission for Information. To be accessible to youth, these should have a component which is in video format and is short (less than 3 minutes). Any text should be less than 400 words and be accompanied by pictures. (‘If there isn’t a picture, it didn’t happen.’) These should be done in at least the major languages of the Synod. Secondly, a message from the Synod to the Youth of the World. This message should be inspirational and missionary in character. It should be scripturally based and start from Christ. We picture a simple, direct, honest message that would contain elements such as:  We want to listen to you  We are sorry for our failures  We love you and have faith in you  We want to walk with you in hope. We recommend that two Synod Fathers, with two Youth Auditors (chosen by the auditors from among themselves), be asked to prepare a text.

Apostolic Exhortation. Further, we hope that the Holy Father will again take the opportunity to write an Apostolic Exhortation which takes into account the experience of the Synod. As few young people will read an Apostolic Exhortation, we encourage the Holy Father to consider releasing an aid to help young people read the Exhortation and to increase their interest in it (a “study guide”?).

And we further ask the Holy Father, with the help of suitable experts, to make both the Exhortation and aid interactive. For example, they might end each major section with some direct and open-ended questions that could help the youth in their reflections and could be used to promote personal sharing ideas in small groups. Also, at the end of each major section there might be a QR code (Bar Code) which takes young people to a special website which (i) has a chatroom where the youth could meet and discuss the questions, and (ii) might have also short evocative videos, some of which could be a direct message from the Pope. We also invite the Holy Father to consider ‘road testing’ or work shopping the condensed version of the Apostolic Exhortation, and perhaps even the Exhortation itself, with a number of young people. Perhaps if this is successful, all major church documents could be presented with such youth friendly characteristics.

The Text. Our proposals have largely centred around enriching the reality presented in the text and occasionally providing some balance. Some of the discussions with more energy in them were around:

– The role young people already play as protagonists Youth are already involved in ecumenism and interreligious dialogue by the way they live, study, play, pray and work with and beside others. Sometimes this is intentional. The document often misses the opportunity to recognize the role that young people already and currently play as active agents, for example in the areas of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, especially in Asia (discussed in nos. 10, 24, and 25). We likewise propose that the indispensable role of young people as active agents in the life of the Church and society be acknowledged and underlined.

– The many ways in which family acts and is formed In many cases and places, the family is still very much the domestic Church as well as a sociological or biological reality. It is the font and primary nurturer of the spiritual life. The effects of brokenness of families and diminishment of the passing on of relationship with Jesus is captured very well but this positive aspect is not sufficiently well recognized. Also, there are many other forms of family other than the nuclear family or the extended family. We had a debate in our small group about non-ideal groupings from the Christian perspective. Does leadership in the Church require bishops and priests to proclaim the Gospel truth by denying that these are families? Or does our leadership require us to accompany the young people in the reality in which they find themselves? Perhaps these are not contradictory realities: St John recounts that Jesus both accepted the woman caught in adultery and proposed something else. Is it possible for us to both accept and even honour the family unit that a young person finds herself in and to share the Gospel ideal to her? In addition, families of origin are not the only family context for people in this age group. There are young adults who are preparing for or entering into marriage at this period of their life. As well, many families are headed by people in the age group considered here.

– The faith and thirst for deeper faith that many young people do have. The Instrumentum Laboris captures well the reality that there are many young people who are distanced from the Church and also from relationship with God. There was energy in our group around a need also to be attentive to and appreciate the openness of young people to faith. The document is weak in this area. We are not accompanying an empty glass. There are already gifts in this area present in young people that we want to recognize, accompany, strengthen and send into the Church and the world. The dynamic when we accompany is to lead a person to the more.

ANGLICUS C

Chapter 1 – Being Young Today

Fears

 Chapter 1 discusses a lot of fears: corruption, drugs, employment. This is a whole area to address.

 The kind of families they have been brought up in is very important. The families in the Western world are shrinking in terms of natality. Need to focus on motherhood, fatherhood, spending time generously with their kids.
 One important challenge we face: the number of young people who come from single-parent families. In some societies it is quite high. Lack of knowledge of motherhood or fatherhood (what it means). This makes many challenges for young people as they grow older. Is this in the document?
 Family ministry is a challenging area for us to engage in. Parents want to make money to support their kids. If we tell them to stay at home more, our words not be well received.
 Young person agrees in centrality of family, but we need a village to raise a child. If we can create communities that support families, then families can do better job of provide good lives for their children.  The Church has to be a family. We have a tendency in developed countries to make church just mass for 1 hour on the weekend. …..

……  #11: what do you mean by a traditional family? This term should be explained. ◦ Does it mean nuclear family? A wider family? A family with man at the head? ◦ Did this come from African setting, where it means extended family? ◦ Is it being used to oppose to “non-traditional” families? ◦ Single parent? Grannies?

 The Church can supply for what is missing in the family – need a modus, perhaps added to #12  mixed marriage families and the transmission of the family – not mentioned at all.

14 & 15: Intergenerational relationships

 Pope Francis sees youth and elderly as both being “thrown away”. We need to find ways to bring them together. It does good things for both sides.
 Often youth do have a good relationship with older people, it is the 40-60 group they have trouble with. The older generation seems to be better listeners. In religious life one particular community always includes older sisters because they are the ones that sit and listen.
 Experience of young people: relationship with elders is good when they recognize the need and have the ability to listen to younger people. No matter the age, the ability to have dialogue and conversation is key for a good intergenerational relationship.
 In Asian context, one bishop said he has never seen old age homes. Older people are “adopted” into families.
 In Europe there are no one to build a bridge between elder and youth. Each seems isolated to each other.
 In South Africa, there is often a grandmother taking the place of a parent (perhaps parents have died). The grandmother’s often say they are not appreciated despite their sacrifices.

16-18: Life Choices

 this sounds more like language from an educational book, without much mention of God
 nothing mentioned of divine intervention in the life of youth
 no listening to God in making life choices

19-21: Education

 In Myanmar, children often have to work to feed their family, so they cannot study.  Zimbabwe: Other religions are maximizing on education. Those who are unable to pay school fees are lured in to schools via paying of school fees. Our Catholic schools have become more academic and a place of formation into a Catholic ethos.
 Nigeria: While growing up, parents studied free of charge, but many cannot go to school as it is too expensive. Can Church make Catholic schools affordable? Or raise funds for those who cannot go? For those who don’t have a mind for academics but have skills. Pentecostal churches pay for services that require skills – they promise jobs, accommodation, food, a place to develop and sell skills (so even if volunteer work they go there for other benefits). Catholic schools built with contributions from faithful, but only children of elites can do to those schools.
 His Beatitude: education can be used to promote a form of manipulation, and globally we are seeing this – education is instrumentalized to manipulate human beings today – so we see a tendency to eliminate the church presence
 no mention of pastoral care and spiritual guidance as part of the formation context; can chaplaincies be mentioned, e.g. Newman centres (see 147-148)
 Home based schools – a model coming from America. ◦ USA has many home schoolers – bishops in USA are not united, as homeschooling can have an ideological basis – kids may have special needs ◦ are parents qualified to homeschool them?

Group C went on at quite some length in its study of the various paragraphs of the Instrumentum Laboris they were to study.

ANGLICUS D

It is my privilege to report on behalf of English-language small group “D,” an extraordinarily diverse and lively community of English speakers from all over the world. For the sake of brevity, I will highlight seven themes from an extremely wide-ranging conversation.

First, there was a strong consensus in our group that the document should commence, not with sociological analysis, but rather with a Biblical icon that would serve as a leitmotif for the entire statement. We felt that the story of Jesus’ encounter with the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus—already referenced in the IL—would be the ideal choice, for it beautifully demonstrates Jesus in both his listening and teaching manner. Further, the image of the disciples—still fascinated by the Lord and yet wandering in the wrong direction—aptly describes the condition of many of the young today. Once that elaborated icon is in place, we feel that the overall “see, judge, and act” interpretive framework of the IL should be retained.

Secondly, there was a strong sense in the group that the opening section of the IL was too negative in tone, focusing excessively on the dangers and challenges that young people face, especially in regard to the faith. We wondered whether a greater stress might be placed on the many examples of young people who are joyfully living out their Catholicism, despite the difficulties of this cultural moment. The suggestion was made that the still massively successful World Youth Days, inaugurated by St. Pope John Paul II, are one of the principal signs of this positive engagement of young people.

A third theme, brought up by many in our group, is that the text of the IL remains, in many ways, too Western in focus and tone. More specifically, it overlooks the situation of young people in those parts of the world where Christians suffer active persecution and are, quite literally, fighting for their lives. And it fails to take into account the struggles of those in many third world countries where economic and medical assistance from wealthier nations is frequently tied to an acquiescence to Western moral values in regard to sexuality and marriage. This ideological colonization, as Pope Francis has rightly characterized it, especially harms the young. Also, contemporary advertising, which teaches people to be dissatisfied with the goods that they have, contributes mightily to the throwaway culture so decried by Pope Francis. This dynamic is especially destructive in poorer countries.

A fourth motif from the IL that found particular resonance with our group was that of spiritual paternity and maternity. Many thought that this image lyrically expresses what young people want and expect from the Church. They desire mentors, guides, spiritual friends willing to walk with them. Especially at a time, at least in the West, when the family is in crisis, this trusting relationship between young people and mothers and fathers in the spiritual order is of crucial importance. One of the African members of our community reminded us that in many African languages, there are no words for cousin or uncle or aunt, since everyone in the family is considered brother and sister. This same sort of unity and connectedness ought to mark the life of the Church.

Fifthly, we focused on the prevalence and influence of the digital culture. We would like first to make the stylistic observation that the digital reality is discussed, here and there, in many sections of the first part. It might be wise to bring all of it under one heading. In terms of content, there was a universal consensus that the social media produces both light and shadow in the lives of young people and that the IL was correct to point this out. Two particular observations of our group are especially useful here. On the one hand, the immersion in the virtual world has produced a kind of “digital migration,” which is to say, a wandering away from family, cultural, and religious values into a world of privacy and self-invention. Just as many immigrants feel uprooted from their spiritual homes, so many young people in the West can experience the same kind of rootlessness, even while remaining physically in place.

Sixthly, we spent a good deal of time discussing the sex abuse crisis in the Church, especially regarding its effect on the evangelization of the young. As is obvious to everyone, this scandal has undermined the work of the Church in practically every way, precisely because it has compromised our credibility. A Church that cannot be trusted is simply incapable of reaching out to young people in an effective way. Though some members of our discussion group felt that this matter should be addressed at the very beginning of the document, the consensus was that it ought to remain in paragraph sixty-six, but also be considerably expanded. For instance, even as we acknowledge our sorrow and guilt in this regard, mention should be made of the very positive and effective steps the Church has taken since 2002 to address this matter concretely. And we should make it clear that the commitment to reform, in both matters sexual and financial, is operative at all levels of the Church’s life. Relatedly, we ought to articulate the Church’s understanding of bodylines and sexuality, but we should not hesitate to utilize the language of our theological tradition, including body and soul, the call to virtue, and the ideal of chastity. Many expressed the concern that the terminology of the IL in this area was too marked by contemporary psychological categories.

Seventhly and finally, we had a particularly energetic discussion around the complex issue of the play between listening and teaching in the life of the Church. Some members of our group wondered whether the IL’s strong emphasis on listening didn’t compromise or underplay the Church’s authentic teaching mission. It was observed that many young people today, in the midst of a postmodern culture so marked by relativism and indifferentism, long for the clarity and confidence of the Church’s doctrine. Others insisted that the stress on listening and relationality is indispensable in the measure that no doctrine, however beautiful and true, will be accepted unless it comes from a trustworthy source. One member observed that the maternity of the Church is a helpful image in this regard, provided that we remember that the manner in which a mother teaches her infant child is radically different from the manner in which she teaches her adult child. One of our elders in the group insisted that we move away from any antagonistic construal of the relationship between listening and teaching, as if the two are in tension or competition. Rather, he insisted, they are mutually implicative moments in any constructive conversation. An observation that especially caught the attention of our group was that, in speaking of a Church that listens to young people, the IL inadvertently positions the young as somehow outside the Church. We must always remember that they are listened to, precisely as members of the Mystical Body.

By way of conclusion, I might mention that, alongside of the Biblical narrative of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the image of the restless heart proposed long ago by St. Augustine still sings to young people today. We could use this as another leitmotif throughout the document.

THE SYNOD: GETTING THE NEWS OUT – OR KEEPING IT IN? – CARDINAL DINARDO WELCOMES VATICAN INQUIRY INTO MCCARRICK FILES

As you know from reading this column both Saturday and Sunday, it was a big weekend here! The synod did not make headlines but two Vatican communiqués did: Saturday’s Holy See Press Office statement on ex-cardinal McCarrick and Sunday’s Open letter by Cardinal. Marc Ouellet on recent accusations against the Holy See. They are still – and will be for a while – the focus of news stories around the world.

A big news story today is about the news – read on…

THE SYNOD: GETTING THE NEWS OUT – OR KEEPING IT IN?

The Vatican Information Service (VIS) was instituted because of a desire of Pope John Paul to be closer in touch with the Church’s bishops and nuncios who had been telling him for years that communications with the Vatican, the Holy See were sporadic at best.

We are talking decades before the advent of today’s communications media – Internet, email, cell phones, social media, Facebook live, etc. Even the fax machine was relatively new in the 1980s, and certainly was uncommon in most homes.

When, sometime in the late 1980s, John Paul asked Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who headed the Holy See Press Office from 1984 to 2006, how the Vatican could better communicate with the bishops and nuncios around the world, Navarro-Valls said that, although telegrams and faxes were the best options at the time, technology was always developing and he wanted the Vatican to be on the cutting edge of whatever was new. The Vatican’s first webpage appeared in 1996 so the Church did get in on the ground floor of cutting edge technology.

Holy See diplomats had the distinct advantage for years – and still do – of receiving news from Rome in a very timely fashion in diplomatic pouches – and getting back to Rome in the same manner.

When the 1990 synod on “The Formation of Priests in Circumstances of the Present Day” took place, VIS was opening its offices, hiring staff, etc., and therefore did not cover it. I had begun to work at VIS in August 1990 and was greatly honored in the new year with an invitation to help translate into English parts of Pope John Paul’s Apostolic Exhortation on that synod, “Pastores dabo vobis.”

The years I was at VIS we covered the following nine synods, several of which were continental and had been called by Pope John Paul as a lead up to the Jubilee Year 2000: 1991 Europe, 1994 The Consecrated Life and its Role in the Church and the World, 1994 Africa, 1995 Lebanon, 1997 America, 1998 Asia, 1999 Oceania, 1999 Europe II, 2001 The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World.

Whenever we heard an announcement that a synod was being planned for such-and-such a year, we groaned. It was an enormous amount of work, though we fully realized that the staff of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops probably worked double the hours we did, preparing the synod and then being present in the synod hall almost around the clock while it was underway.

The press center was set up temporarily in the Synod Hall in a spot known as the “fungo”, the mushroom.

All participants in a synod who were to give a talk, were asked to hand that talk – preferably a summary of the short intervention – over to synod officials who then turned those summaries over to translators and to all of us at VIS as VIS transmitted its daily new service in four languages: English, Spanish, French and Italian.

For example, a bishop from France would give his French-language summary to synod officials, that summary was translated into other languages and then the original and the translations were placed in color-coded (for language) synod daily bulletins and made available to every member of the press corps, permanent or temporary, who was accredited by the Holy See Press Office to the synod.

Thus, French-speaking journalists would pick up the blue-color French synod bulletin to know what their prelates and those from other parts of the world were saying on the synod floor. The Spanish bulletins might be yellow, English green and so on for other languages.

The media was usually only allowed in the synod hall at the start of morning and afternoon sessions when the synod participants opened with a prayer. Media did not remain during the work session, although Vatican staff from VIS, the press office, and Vatican radio were usually present.

This system meant that all members of the media, in addition to any private interviews they had done or meetings they held with synod participants, had a very good overview of what was happening and what was being said in the synod hall. They knew what was being said and debated on certain topics relevant to the synod theme

In addition to the synod’s language bulletins, journalists keep abreast of news via press office conferences and, almost on a daily basis, briefings in different languages for smaller groups, ie, an English-speaking prelate for English media, etc.

That useful and worthwhile system, however onerous it was for all of us involved – nonstop work, skipped meals, late hours, etc – has been relegated to the past, given what I’m hearing and reading about the current synod.

You may have seen Ed Pentin’s tweet: Information Sec Fr. Spadaro justified not giving interventions in detail by saying #synod2018 is a “place of discernment” so delegates “must know what they say will remain in the hall.” If everything “were repeated externally, it would limit freedom, as it’s a spiritual context”

Hello! Several hundred people in the same room at once and not a single word will get out! We won’t find out what’s happening unless you want us to know?!

Delegates who want their message to get out will post on Facebook or a blog, tweet it and/or give a radio or print or TV interview.

If delegates want the world to know what is really happening in the synod hall and during coffee breaks, they will tell us.

If their want their intervention not to be published or publicized, that too will probably happen.

There cannot be a repeat of the 2014-2015 synods where enough people inside and outside the synod hall knew what was happening, knew and reported what people were saying so that when a draft of the final message came out and it did not reflect what the majority of synod fathers had said, all you-know-what broke loose!

I suggested a few sites the other day to follow for synod news. I included vaticannewsa.va and http://www.synod2018.va but now realize they in no way reflect what is happening in the hall where prelates and experts and auditors from around the world gather twice daily and scores of speeches are given.

Vaticannews, at least so far, has given only a handful of highlights – the Holy Father, the head of the Synod of Bishops and a few prelates. Iit does offer the possibility each day of clicking onto the link to the daily press conference so that viewers can listen in to the reports of Synod Fathers – all very helpful if you know several languages.

http://www.synod2018.va is basically a fact sheet on the synod. The section called “Press Review” highlights articles from vaticannews.va in different languages as well as articles from a few independent media organizations. It does not feature the speeches of Synod Fathers.

I recommend now, more than ever, following synod participants on their blogs or their Twitter accounts.

It will be interesting in coming days and weeks (the synod ends October 28) to see the news as it comes from official Vatican sites and what we hear from those participating. Will they be telling the same story?

CARDINAL DINARDO WELCOMES VATICAN INQUIRY INTO MCCARRICK FILES

Vatican City, Oct 8, 2018 / 03:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The president of the U.S. bishops conference said Sunday he welcomes the Vatican’s announcement of a further investigation into files on Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, praising the pope’s steps to end sexual assault.

“On behalf of my brother bishops in the United States, I welcome the statement of October 6 from the Holy See which outlines additional steps Pope Francis is taking to ensure the faithful are protected from the evil of sexual assault,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said.

DiNardo’s Oct. 7 statement was a response to the Vatican’s announcement that it would review its files pertaining to allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of McCarrick, who has been accused in recent months of serially sexually abusing two teenage boys, and of sexually coercing and assaulting priests and seminarians during decades of ministry as a bishop.

The Archdiocese of New York has already conducted a formal investigation into one allegation that McCarrick serially sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1970s, and announced in June that the allegation had been found credible.

The Vatican said that Pope Francis has decided to combine the information from that investigation “with a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the Archives of the Dicasteries and Offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick.”

“The Holy Father’s ‘pressing invitation to unite forces to fight the grave scourge of abuse within the Church and beyond’ has been and will continue to be diligently accepted by the bishops of the United States,” DiNardo said.

He stated that the truth is what will ensure the “terrible sins of the past are not repeated” and said the courage of abuse survivors in bringing sexual abuse to light must be matched by the courage of pastors “to respond in justice.”

“Pope Francis echoes the call of Christ to be with survivors in their time of need. Let us respond simply. ‘Yes, Lord!’” he continued.

The statement also said the bishops offer their prayers and solidarity for the pope at this time and urged everyone in the Church, “particularly the bishops,” to reaffirm communion with Pope Francis, “who is the visible guarantor of the communion of the Catholic Church.”

“We unite in prayer and service with His Holiness as he leads the Church to meet our brothers and sisters in their suffering. With a pastor’s heart, the Holy Father calls us to a path of healing,” the statement concluded.

DiNardo, who is Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, also met with Pope Francis and other Vatican offices Oct. 8, ahead of the U.S. bishops’ fall general assembly next month.

USCCB Vice-President Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles and Msgr. Brian Bransfield, USCCB general secretary, were also present at that meeting. They were joined by the conference’s associate general secretary Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill.

The meeting took place just one month after Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop Gomez, Msgr. Bransfield, and Cardinal Séan O’Malley of Boston, met with Pope Francis to discuss the ongoing sexual abuse scandals in the Church in the U.S.