YOU GOTTA LOVE HIM! – THE 10 COMMANDMENTS ARE “A GUIDE TO AN AUTHENTIC HUMAN LIFE” – POPE FRANCIS EXPRESSES CLOSENESS TO “MARTYRED LAND OF SYRIA”

YOU GOTTA LOVE HIM!

A young boy upstaged Pope Francis on Wednesday, escaping from his mother and running onto the papal podium at a general audience, tugging on the hand of a Swiss guardsman and playing behind the pontiff’s chair. (Reuters story and photo)


The boy’s mother briefly spoke to the pope as she tried to pull the child away, saying that he was mute. Pope Francis told her to let him carry on playing.

“This child cannot speak. He is mute. But he can communicate,” the pope told hundreds of pilgrims. “And he has something that got me thinking: he is free. Unruly … but he is free,” he added to laughter.

“Let’s ask the grace (of God) that he may speak.”

The mother told the pope that the family came from his native Argentina. As she left the stage, a smiling Francis leaned towards Archbishop Georg Gaenswein sitting next to him and whispered: “He is Argentinian. Undisciplined.”

THE 10 COMMANDMENTS ARE “A GUIDE TO AN AUTHENTIC HUMAN LIFE”

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis on the Ten Commandments during the Wednesday general audience, reflecting on them in the light of Christ.
“Dear brothers and sisters, “ he began. “In this, our final catechesis on the Ten Commandments, we reflect on how, in the light of Christ, the Decalogue should be seen not as a series of rules, but rather the guide to an authentic human life that comes to fulfilment in the love, joy and peace born of obedience to the Father’s will. Our Lord came not to abolish the Law but to fulfil it.”

Francis noted that, “the Holy Spirit, by enabling us to live a new life in Christ, takes away our hearts of flesh and opens them to the holy desire to abandon sin and to be conformed to Jesus’ own heart, his love and his desires.”

The Holy Father explained that, “the Ten Commandments invite us first to enter into a faithful and loving relationship with God our Father, to reject every false idol that enslaves us, and to find our authentic rest in the freedom of Christ and the Holy Spirit. They then teach us how to live redeemed lives, marked by fidelity, integrity and honesty towards our neighbor.”

In conclusion, Pope Francis said, “the commandments show us the face of Christ and open the door to the new life of grace; by accepting God’s offer of saving love, we find our true selves and the source of a joy that will never end.”

POPE FRANCIS EXPRESSES CLOSENESS TO “MARTYRED LAND OF SYRIA”

Pope Francis sends a letter to the Franciscans stationed in Syria, saying the Church sees Jesus’ suffering in the trials and poverty of the Syrian people.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

In a letter sent to Franciscan friars in Syria, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the “martyred land of Syria.”

“I wish to share in your sufferings and tell you that I am close to you and to the Christian communities which are so tried by the pain experienced in their faith in Christ Jesus.”

The Pope’s letter was addressed to Fathers Hanna Jallouf and Louai Bsharat, OFM.
Pope Francis reflected on the great suffering, poverty, and pain that Jesus experiences in the Syrian people. “It is Jesus! This is a mystery. It is our Christian mystery. In you and in the inhabitants of our beloved Syria, we see Jesus suffering.”

Martyrdom
Pope Francis compared their sufferings to martyrdom. “Nothing more than martyrdom can mark the Christian’s way of participating in humanity’s salvation history.”

He said martyrs advance the Kingdom of God and “sow Christians for the future.”
Calling them “the true glory of the Church and our hope”, the Holy Father said the witness of martyrs is “a warning not to get lost even in the midst of the storm.”

“Not a few times the sea of life has a storm awaiting us, but out of the existential waves we receive an unexpected sign of salvation: Mary, the Mother of the Lord, looking in astonishment and silence at the innocent, crucified Son who fills life and salvation with meaning.”

Pain into hope
Pope Francis assured the Franciscan friars stationed in Syria that he remembers them constantly during Mass and prays that their “unspeakable pain” may be transformed into divine hope.

He then quoted Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.”

Finally, Pope Francis prayed that the Virgin Mary guard the Franciscans in Syria “under her Cloak of Grace” and that she intercede for them to receive “the gift of perseverance.”

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USCCB FALL MEETING: DAY ONE, SACKCLOTH, ASHES AND A MAJOR SHOCK – ARCHBISHOP VIGANO TO U.S. BISHOPS. YOU HAVE A SACRED MANDATE – POPE FRANCIS ON EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: GOSSIP KILLS, GOD IS TRUTH

The following column was prepared yesterday but my computer died – or was in a comatose state – before I finished writing and editing so could not post it. All is well today, at least so it seems, so here is the news from November 13 and a bit on today’s general audience with Pope Francis.

Among the offerings I had for yesterday was a penetrating piece by the Register’s Matthew Bunson on the request by the Vatican that the USCCB, as they meet in their fall assembly, delay any vote on further action in the clerical sex abuse issue, especially their plan to propose standards of conduct for bishops and how bishops might be disciplined or punished if in violation of those standards. This was to be the centerpiece of the November meeting. The Vatican asked that the bishops delay these proposals until the February 2019 meeting that Pope has called for in Rome for all the heads of Episcopal conferences throughout the world to address the abuse scandal

Two interesting pieces of news from November 13 from the Holy See Press Office

1. The Pope named Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta as adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, while remaining archbishop of Malta. For years he worked at the CDF before becoming an archbishop and he has been the Pope’s point man on important cases regarding clerical sex abuse. You might recall that Francis sent Scicluna earlier this year to Chile to investigate allegations of clerical sex abuse. The Pope had called the allegations ‘calumny’ but when Scicluna presented a massive report backing those who were abused, the Holy Father, in all humility, did an about-face, saying he was wrong and also “part of the problem.” Chile’s bishops came to Rome for a meeting and resigned en masse but the Pope has so far only accepted a small number of those resignations.

2. The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis, welcoming the invitation of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and of the (nation’s) bishops will undertake a trip to Morocco on March 30-31, 2019, visiting the cities of Rabat and Casablanca. The program will be published in due time

USCCB FALL MEETING: DAY ONE, SACKCLOTH, ASHES AND A MAJOR SHOCK

Matthew E. Bunson (National Catholic Register)
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opened its Fall Assembly in Baltimore Monday with an agenda of prayer and deliberations on dealing with bishop accountability in the face of the scandal surrounding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The agenda lasted only a few minutes before being upended by the announcement that no votes would be taken on several key items of reform at the request of the Holy See.

The decision by the Holy See – specifically the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops under its prefect Cardinal Marc Ouellet – asked the bishops not to vote on a new “Code of Conduct” for bishops and the creation of a lay-led board to investigate accusations of misconduct against bishops. The news came as a complete surprise to virtually all of the bishops in attendance, even as it raises significant questions about the prospects for finding solutions to the clergy sex abuse crisis and the McCarrick scandal and signals a blunt rejection of the U.S. bishops.

Some might even go so far as to describe the Vatican’s decision and its timing a deliberate act of humiliation of the U.S. bishops at a time when they are trying in good faith to grapple with the greatest crisis in the history of American Catholicism.
“Let us begin by taking those concerns to prayer.”

The U.S. bishops were only a few minutes into their morning session when the conference’s president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, gave the news to his disbelieving brother bishops. The decision, he told them, was at “the insistence of the Holy See” and had been delivered to him only the night before the start of the fall meeting.

The surprise and anger were palpable in the room in the Marriott hotel in Baltimore, and Cardinal DiNardo himself went on to express his own disappointment.

“Brothers,” he said, “I am sure that you have concerns about this, as I do myself. Let us begin by taking those concerns to prayer.” In an address to the conference that had to be altered by the shocking news, Cardinal DiNardo stressed, “We remain committed to the program of episcopal accountability. Votes will not take place, but we will move forward.”

He again apologized to the victims of abuse and pledged to go forward.
In a news conference just a few hours later, he again urged Catholics to understand there is no lessening of their resolve.

“We have accepted these events [of the Holy See request],” he said, “we’ll keep pushing and moving until we get to a point until it becomes action. We are not happy.”

He explained further that the demand of the Holy See had come in the form of a letter from the Congregation for Bishops. The stated reason, the cardinal explained, was that the Holy See desired all votes on new measures related to the crisis be delayed until after the February meeting in Rome that Francis has called. That gathering will bring together the presidents of the world’s episcopal conferences to discuss the global sex-abuse crisis.

While the stated reasons are defensible enough, the request short-circuited months of preparations by the officials of the U.S. bishops’ conference and the genuine desire of the bishops in Baltimore to take highly anticipated concrete steps both to make progress in the crisis but also to try and regain some of the credibility that had been lost in a summer of scandals, attorneys general reports and simmering anger among the faithful over disgraced Archbishop McCarrick. The shocking events also completely overshadowed what was supposed to be one of those steps in restoring credibility: a day of prayer and penance.

The original plan was to devote most of the first day to prayer and to hearing from abuse victims, as well as reflections on the Book of Daniel, Chapter 9, on sackcloth and ashes, and the great reformer St. Charles Borromeo who was willing to face assassination to bring authentic renewal to his archdiocese of Milan in the 16th century.

The day of prayer, penance and adoration followed by deliberations and votes was potentially doubly significant.

First, it would have anchored the subsequent deliberations in a proper spiritual context, tying the important reality of institutional reform to the need for a corresponding authentic spiritual reform. Second, it would have served as a first step toward the planned longer and presumably deeper reflection, prayer and penance in January that will take place at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago.
Francis and Synodality

The notion of prayer had one additional facet. During their September meeting with Francis, Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, the vice president of the USCCB, expressed their desire for the Holy See to launch a full investigation into the McCarrick scandal.

In reply, Francis encouraged them to cancel the fall assembly and have prayer and penance. The bishops took to heart the Pope’s suggestion but then also pushed ahead with the debate and vote on the plans to deal with the crisis. It was a compromise with the Pope’s recommendation, a down payment on the week of prayer in Chicago in January and a first step of offering the Catholic faithful a tangible set of proposals for the future.

The vote itself would have benefited from the credibility of action. They had a plan entering the assembly, and while it might not have been perfect and perhaps might not have passed the critical eye of the Congregations for Bishops and the Congregration for the Doctrine of the Faith, it was something the bishops could point to as a first concrete and transparent step.

Francis, however, wanted days of prayer and no votes. He apparently got his wish. But after asking frustrated and angry Catholics — many victims included — to wait for years for the bishops to begin holding themselves accountable, the idea of waiting months longer might seem intolerable to many. The Congregation for Bishops saw potential problems with the bishops’ proposals and acted firmly but with also painful timing.

To the bishops, of course, there is the requirement of obedience to the Vicar of Christ. At the news conference Monday, Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington, Vermont, the outgoing head of the Bishops’ Committee on Communications, both emphasized the importance of obedience.

Bishop Coyne said in answer to a question on why not just vote anyway, “Bishops by our very nature are collegial. … We work in union with each other to come to a collegial place. So when the Holy See asks us to work in collegiality, that’s what we do.”

Cardinal DiNardo added, “We are Roman Catholic bishops in communion with our Holy Father in Rome and he has people in Vatican congregations, and we are responsible to him to be attentive. Given that attentiveness, of faith, when we receive this letter we respond.”

The demand of the Holy See and the response of the bishops also exemplified another major issue, one that also emerged out of seeming nowhere during the Synod on Youth: synodality. From the closing days of the synod to the first day of the bishops’ meeting, the definition of synodality has been debated and interpreted.
In his morning address, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, taught, “Pope Francis asks us to be a synodal and humble Church. A Church that listens. We need to listen once more to the voice of Christ.”

Synodality means, as the nuncio stressed, listening. It has also been described as a journeying together. Was what happened on Day One in Baltimore a moment of synodality or were the U.S. bishops treated to the sheer raw exercise of power?
When asked if he saw the action of the Holy See as synodal, Cardinal DiNardo described it as “quizzical,” theorizing that the Congregation for Bishops might have considered the U.S. bishops to have been too hasty in crafting their proposal.
“I’m wondering if they could turn the synodality back on us,” he added. “My first reaction was, ‘This didn’t seem so synodical.’ But maybe the Americans weren’t acting so synodically either. But it was quizzical to me, when I saw it.”

Over the next days, the bishops will discuss the most important approaches to the crisis, and while there may not be a vote, the bishops will likely have plenty to say. Look for a final statement and a series of resolutions to salvage something from the disastrous news that began their journey together in Baltimore. Will the road ahead continue to be a long and tortured one? Will Pope Francis be listening?
Pray for our bishops and pray for our Holy Father.

ARCHBISHOP VIGANO TO U.S. BISHOPS. YOU HAVE A SACRED MANDATE

November 13, 2018 Tuesday
Dear Brothers Bishops in the US,
I am writing to remind you of the sacred mandate you were given on the day of your episcopal ordination: to lead the flock to Christ. Meditate on Proverbs 9:10: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! Do not behave like frightened sheep, but as courageous shepherds. Do not be afraid of standing up and doing the right thing for the victims, for the faithful and for your own salvation. The Lord will render to every one of us according to our actions and omissions.
I am fasting and praying for you.
+Arch. Carlo Maria Viganò Your former Apostolic Nuncio
November 13, 2018 Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

POPE FRANCIS ON EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: GOSSIP KILLS, GOD IS TRUTH

In his continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments, the Pope during his General Audience reflects on the eighth commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour”.

In his Catechesis devoted to the eighth commandment, Pope Francis told pilgrims in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday that Christians are called to be “truthful not only in our words but in our entire way of acting towards others.” Speaking at his weekly General Audience, the Pope said that, “our ultimate model in this regard is Jesus himself. He is the truth in person who, at his trial before Pilate, revealed that he came into this world to testify to the truth.”

Where there is a lie there is no love

When a person is not communicating authentically, underlined the Pontiff, it is a serious matter because it inhibits relationships and therefore inhibits love. “Where there is a lie, he continued, there is no love. ”

Beware of Gossip

Gossiping, Pope Francis pointed out, kills. It kills, he explained, “because the tongue kills, like a knife.” Be careful, the Pope added, the gossip “is a terrorist because he or she throws a bomb and leaves.” “Christians are not exceptional men and women, said the Pope, “we are, however, children of our heavenly Father, who is good and does not disappoint us, and places in our hearts the love for our brothers and sisters.”

God is truth

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour” he stressed, means living as children of God, acting in accordance with his will and trusting in him. “It bids us live this new life to the full, and thus to bear true witness to God’s saving love, made incarnate in the humanity of Christ our Lord. “I trust God”, concluded Pope Francis, “ this is the great truth.”

Here is the official English language summary of the Pope’s catechesis at the General Audience on 14th of November 2018:

Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments, we now turn to the eighth commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that this commandment “forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others” (No. 2464). We are called to be truthful not only in our words but in our entire way of acting towards others. Our ultimate model in this regard is Jesus himself. He is the truth in person (cf. Jn 14:6), who, at his trial before Pilate, revealed that he came into this world to testify to the truth (cf. Jn 18:37). In the mystery of his life, death and resurrection, he disclosed the deepest meaning of our life on earth, and invited us to share in his divine life. His gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, enables us to become adoptive sons and daughters of our heavenly Father and to dwell in his love as brothers and sisters. The eighth commandment bids us live this new life to the full, and thus to bear true witness to God’s saving love, made incarnate in the humanity of Christ our Lord.

THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: “YOU SHALL NOT STEAL” MEANS “LOVE WITH YOUR GOODS” – ORDER OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE PREPARES FOR ROME MEETING

I found today’s catechesis on the seventh commandment as interesting as the previous papal general audience catecheses on the Ten Commandments for one main reason. Pope Francis seems to be looking at both sides of each commandment, that is to say, he explores the “Thou Shall not” part, but also looks at the other side of a commandment, he looks at what one “shall” do.

I remember when I worked at the Vatican Information Service and we wrote our own headlines for the Vatican and papal stories we summarized for each day’s news service, it was emphasized at the start of VIS in 1990 that we should always try to emphasize the positive, even if news was negative. Thus, instead of writing “Pope decries abortion,” our headline would read “Pope embraces pro-life work.“ Do that enough, it was thought (or hoped!) and people will probably think positive, instead of negative.

THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: “YOU SHALL NOT STEAL” MEANS “LOVE WITH YOUR GOODS”

Continuing his catechesis on the Ten Commandments at Wednesday’s general audience in St- Peter’s Square, Pope Francis focused on the seventh commandment: “You shall not steal.” (photo vaticannews)

In his catechesis, Pope Francis noted that there is no culture that does not condemn theft and the misuse of our possessions. But, he says, it is worthwhile to reflect more deeply on the theme of ownership “in light of Christian wisdom.”

Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Pope said, “the goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. … this universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.”

In a world where there are so many differences, so many differences of conditions, God has provided resources in such a way that all human beings must help one another in order to ensure that everyone’s primary needs can be met. “If there is hunger in the world, it is not for lack of food!” he stressed. “What is lacking is a free and far-seeing entrepreneurship, that ensures adequate production, and a solidarity based approach that ensures an equitable distribution.”

This, Pope Francis says, is the perspective that allows us to understand the deeper and fuller meaning of the commandment “You shall not steal.” Ownership, he says, is a responsibility; we can only truly possess “that which we know how to give.” If there are things that we cannot give away, “it is because those things possess me, have power over me, and I am a slave to it.”

Here, the Pope says, we can once more look to the example of Christ Himself, who, “though He was God, ‘did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself’; and He has enriched us with His poverty.” While humanity continually strives for more, “God redeems humanity by becoming poor.” What makes us truly rich, Pope Francis says, “is not goods, but love.”

The Holy Father concluded his catechesis with the reflection that “once more Jesus Christ reveals to us the full meaning of the Scriptures. ‘You shall not steal’ means ‘love with your goods, profit by your means to love as you can. Then your life will become good and the possession will truly become a gift. Because life is not a time for possessing but for forgiving.’”

ORDER OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE PREPARES FOR ROME MEETING

A press conference at the Holy See Press Office was held on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming Consulta of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
The Consulta of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre is the Order’s main advisory body and is convened every five years. All the highest offices of the Order are represented including, the Cardinal Grand Master, the Grand Magisterium, the Lieutenants and the Magistral Delegates. A representative from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and a representative of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches also attend.

Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, is pictured near a replica of Blessed John Paul II’s crosier and other personal mementos in his residence at the Vatican Nov. 24. Cardinal O’Brien left Rome Nov. 26 for a week-long visit to the Holy Land, his first as grand master of the order. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Nov. 26, 2012) See OBRIEN-TRIP Nov. 26, 2012.The main aim of the Order “is to strengthen among its members the practice of Christian life, to sustain and aid the charitable, cultural and social works and institutions of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, particularly those of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which also includes Cyprus and Jordan, thus supporting the Christian presence in the Lands of the Bible.”

An Instrumentum Laboris or working document is being drafted by a special commission that the Order says, “will help to direct the reflection of the participants, who will receive it before the meeting.”

Consulta Agenda
Participating at Wednesday’s press conference at the Holy See Press Office was Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, appointed Grand Master by Pope Benedict in 2011. Following the briefing he spoke to Vatican News about the agenda for the upcoming Consulta. “During this meeting we want to be sure we’re on the same page when it comes to the formation of our members and that starts with our Lieutenants… So it is our intention in this Consulta to review our new statutes and to see what role the Lieutenant should play in serving his membership.”

Education focus
During the conference the cardinal spoke about not wanting to see areas of the Middle East become like museums with people leaving their lands to find a better life elsewhere. Asked about this during the interview, the Grand Master said they were putting a focus on education. “Education is no less important in the Holy Land, in Palestine, even more important there because so many things that which they are deprived are beyond their reach, but we want to make education available to all of them and it is something the local pastors take very seriously.”

Cardinal O’Brien went on to say that the Order does its best to support the Pastors of the area and the Bishops “to become one with the people, to identify with their pains and with their needs; to give them some hope, some joy… and these are very important elements for stability.”

The Consulta will take place in Rome from November 13 to 16. (vaticannews)

SIXTH COMMANDMENT MEANS FIDELITY TO EVERY HUMAN RELATIONSHIP, VOCATION – POPE TO BIBLE SOCIETY: NO OTHER BOOK HAS SAME POWER TO TRANSFORM LIVES

A bit of Vatican trivia: October 31 marks the 506th anniversary of the reopening of the Sistine Chapel after the works carried out by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the ceiling vault. (October 31, 1512, All Saints’ Eve)

SIXTH COMMANDMENT MEANS FIDELITY TO EVERY HUMAN RELATIONSHIP, VOCATION

Pope Francis again spoke of the sixth commandment today in his continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments at the weekly general audiences. He said “the sixth commandment: ‘You shall not commit adultery’ deals specifically with marital fidelity, yet it also speaks to every human relationship and vocation.”

“In the light of Christ,” he said, “we see that all love is meant to be pure, faithful, generous and fruitful. True love enables us to find ourselves by giving ourselves away. Hence, authentic love is always spousal, life-giving and self-sacrificing.”

The Pope explained that, “the undying love of Christ that is the basis of marital fidelity is likewise reflected in the spousal love and spiritual parenthood that mark the vocations to priestly ministry and consecrated virginity.

Continuing, Francis said, “In the mystery of Christ and his love, we come to understand the full meaning of the gift of our human sexuality and the fidelity demanded by the marriage covenant. As men and women, body and spirit, we are called to love in ways that leave no room for lust or promiscuity.”

“The command – ‘You shall not commit adultery’ – is thus an invitation to live fully our original calling to that pure and faithful spousal love revealed in Jesus Christ.”

POPE TO BIBLE SOCIETY: NO OTHER BOOK HAS SAME POWER TO TRANSFORM LIVES

Before the general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis greeted a delegation from the American Bible Society in the Paul VI Hall.

The American Bible Society’s mission statement is “to transform lives through God’s word,” he noted in his remarks. He encouraged the Society, currently meeting in Rome, “to pursue and even intensify their commitment to that mission.”

The Pope went on to stress that “truly the word of God has the power to transform lives” and, quoting from the Letter to the Hebrews, he said, it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…” He underlined that “no other book has the same power.”

In its word, he continued, “we recognize the Spirit who inspired it: for only in the Spirit can Scripture truly be received, lived and proclaimed, for the Spirit teaches all things and reminds us of all that Jesus said.”

The Pontiff explained to those present that God’s word “is honey, offering the comforting sweetness of the Lord, but also a sword bringing a salutary unrest to our hearts. For it penetrates to the depths and brings to light the dark recesses of the soul. As it penetrates, it purifies.”

The double edge of this “sword”, he said, may at first wound, but it proves beneficial, for it cuts away everything that distances us from God and his love.

The Holy Father noted that God’s word judges thoughts and intentions. “The word of life is also truth and His word ‘creates’ truth in us, dissipating every form of falsehood and duplicity. Scripture constantly challenges us to redirect our path to God.”

”Letting ourselves ‘be read’ by the word of God,” said the Pope, “enables us to become in turn ‘open books’, living reflections of the saving word, witnesses of Jesus and proclaimers of his newness.” (vaticannews)

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS REMOVES BISHOP HOLLEY FROM DIOCESE OF MEMPHIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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/

PAPAL AUDIENCE: THE SICK AND DISABLED, THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

PAPAL AUDIENCE: THE SICK AND DISABLED, THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Ahead of the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis greeted sick and disabled people, saying God has a special place in His heart for people with a disability.

Pope Francis made a special stop in the air-conditioned Paul VI Hall on Wednesday to greet sick and disabled people, giving a warm welcome to the “Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative of the Americas” group and praying for the spiritual outcome of their pilgrimage to Rome.

“Dear friends,” said Francis, “I offer a warm welcome to the group from the ‘Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative of the Americas’. I pray that your pilgrimage – ‘A Time to Walk with Jesus’ – will help you to grow in love for Christ and for one another. The Lord has a special place in his heart for those with any kind of disability, and so does the Successor of Saint Peter! I hope that your time in Rome will be spiritually enriching and strengthen your witness to God’s love for all his children. As you continue your journey, I ask you please remember to pray for me. May Almighty God richly bless you all!”

Afterwards, outside in a sun-blessed St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father continued his new catechesis on the Ten Commandments.

“In our continuing catechesis on the commandments,” he began, “we now consider the text of the Decalogue, the ten commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The text begins with the words: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery’ (Ex 20:2). God first identifies himself as our God, the God whose love sets us free from all that enslaves us.”

Francis explained that, “these words show that God’s ‘commands’ are really an invitation to respond with gratitude to his saving love, a love disclosed fully in the coming of Jesus his Son. Gratitude to God for his many gifts, and willingness to accept his offer of love, are at the heart of the Christian moral life; they inspire us to heed God’s words and obey his commands.”

The Pope then paused in his catechesis, leaving aside his prepared remarks, and he asked everyone to be silent for a moment and to think about all the reasons in their own lives that they have reason to be grateful to God.

Continuing his text, the Pope said, “If our obedience to God’s law is servile, mere legalism, then, like the ancient Israelites, we should cry out in prayer to be released from that slavery and to enjoy the freedom of God’s beloved children in Christ. God wants to break every chain that binds us, so that, in loving obedience to his will, we can enjoy true freedom and life in abundance.”

After the catechesis on the commandments, Pope Francis welcomed a delegation from the “Special Olympics” organization: “I extend a special welcome to the delegation from the Special Olympics organization on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation. The world of sport offers a particular opportunity for people to grow in mutual understanding and friendship, and I pray that this Olympic Flame may be a sign of joy and hope in the Lord who bestows the gifts unity and peace on his children. Upon all who support the aims of the Special Olympics, I willingly invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.”
(source: Vaticannews)