Pope Francis tweeted today: May we make God’s merciful love ever more evident in our world through dialogue, mutual acceptance and fraternal cooperation.
When I have more time to reflect on the gigantic impact of yesterday’s historical vote in the United States, I will sit back, take a breath and attempt to write a thoughtful piece about my reaction to the news of a Donald Trump victory in the most contested election campaign of our time marked by, among other things, bitter, divisive language on both sides. When the rhetoric tones down on Facebook, I will add my comments to that page as well. Those who know me well and follow my writings, already know I greeted the news with prayerful gratitude.
What I do want to tell you now is that the first phone call I got this morning was from one of my favorite people, Francesco, a doorman at a nearby Vatican-owned apartment building. We see each other often and share local and Vatican news whenever we pass each other’s building.We spoke briefly last night as I was on my way home from Mass because he knew it was election day and he had a lot of questions about the candidates, as you can well imagine.
I tried to answer his questions and explain the candidates’ positions, their personalities, the pros and cons, etc. I explained the whys and wherefores of my preference for Trump and why I could never, especially as a Catholic, vote for Hillary Clinton. Francesco at a certain point said so much of what I was telling him was new to him. His “I had no idea” merely echoed what I’ve heard from Italians over the last months and weeks. They were not familiar with Trump’s positive points or Clinton’s negative ones. Why? Fascinating stuff!
Francesco called to tell me he had watched the news and heard Trump’s acceptance remarks and felt, especially after our conversation, that things might indeed be positive for America. At least he said he hoped so and would pray for that! That’s all I would ask of anyone.
And now, on to the other realities of life here in Rome and the Vatican…..
FRANCIS URGES FAITHFUL, “BE ACTIVE INSTRUMENTS OF MERCY”
Today’s general audience in a sun-kissed St. Peter’s Square on a cool November day, is the penultimate audience of the Holy Year of Mercy which ends on Sunday, November 20. The Pope has been reflecting on the corporal works of mercy in his series of catecheses and today spoke of those works that call us to visit the sick and the imprisoned.
Francis issued an invitation to his guests to not become indifferent but rather to become active instruments of mercy.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” began the Holy Father. “In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider two further corporal works of mercy: healing the sick and visiting the imprisoned. Jesus himself is our model in both. He shows us the importance of drawing near to those who so often feel alone and abandoned. How much good is done when we visit the sick and those in prison, and how much we ourselves are enriched by these acts of charity!
Having presided at last weekend’s Jubilee for Prisoners, Francis went on to say, “visiting the imprisoned is a fruitful way of bringing the Lord’s healing presence to those who are paying for their mistakes. Deprived of their freedom, they especially need to hear the message of God’s merciful love and forgiveness, and in this way to recognize their worth and dignity. Jesus himself, though innocent, suffered in prison for our sake, and the apostles Peter and Paul used the time of their imprisonment to pray and proclaim the Gospel.”
“By visiting the sick and the imprisoned,” said the Pope, “may we bring God’s mercy and its redemptive power to our brothers and sisters in need.
The Pope had greetings for some special groups and concluded, as is traditional at the weekly gatherings, with words to the young, the sick and newly-weds. In particular he noted that today, November 9, is the commemoration of the dedication of the basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome and of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. “Dear young people, pray for the Successor of Peter, so that he may always confirm brothers in faith; feel the Pope’s nearness in prayer, dear infirm, as you face the trials of ill health; teach the faith with simplicity to your children, dear newly-weds, nurturing it with love for the Church and for her pastors.”
VATICAN: WE HOPE TRUMP GOVERNMENT MAY BEAR REAL FRUIT
The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Wednesday said he hoped the newly elected American president, Donald Trump, would be guided by God to serve his country but also to promote peace and well-being in the world.
Talking to journalists on the sidelines of a conference at Rome’s Lateran University, the cardinal said he respected the will of the American people as expressed in this exercise of democracy. “We send our congratulations to the new president”, he continued, in the hope that “his government may bear real fruit”.
Cardinal Parolin said it would be premature to comment on specific issues such as immigration, noting that the views of presidential candidates often differ from their policies once they become president and adding that Trump had already spoken “in leadership style.”
He said Trump can be “assured of our prayers that the Lord may enlighten and support him” in the service of his country, but also in the service of peace and well-being in the world. Cardinal Parolin concluded by saying he believes there is a need for everyone to work to change the situation in the world today, which is one of “grave wounds, of serious conflicts.” (Vatican Radio)