NONVIOLENCE MUST BE A STYLE OF POLITICS FOR PEACE – POPE NAMES FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF RENEWAL INSTITUTE OF PONTIFICAL RIGHT

As I write, Pope Francis is celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for today’s feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There is a sizeable group of Mexicans present who had arrived Rome earlier in the week, many of whom appeared several days ago in colorful costumes in St. Peter’s Square. (images: Vatican Radio – St. Peter’s Basilica)

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The basilica honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited Catholic shrine in the world. This image has always been very dear to Pope Francis who, on February 13 of this year, during his trip to Mexico, fulfilled his desire to pray before the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. After Mass at the shrine, the Pope went to the little room behind the main altar of the basilica dedicated to Mary where he was able to meditate and pray in front of the miraculous mantle. The image normally faces the congregation but can be turned around to allow a closer and more private moment of veneration.

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NONVIOLENCE MUST BE A STYLE OF POLITICS FOR PEACE

Pope Francis’ Message for the January 1 celebration of World Day of Peace was released today by the Vatican. In this, the 50th Message for this annual day, Pope Francis calls for a renewed culture of nonviolence to inform global politics today, noting that military responses to conflicts only breed more violence.

He notes early on that, in the first such Message Blessed Pope Paul VI addressed all peoples, not simply Catholics, with utter clarity:  “Peace is the only true direction of human progress – and not the tensions caused by ambitious nationalisms, nor conquests by violence, nor repressions which serve as mainstay for a false civil order.”

Francis calls on political and religious leaders, the heads of international institutions, business and media executives and all men and women of goodwill to become instruments of reconciliation and adopt nonviolence as a style of politics for peace. He states several times that violence is clearly “not the cure for our broken world.”

“On this occasion,”says the Holy Father, “I would like to reflect on nonviolence as a style of politics for peace.  I ask God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values.  May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life.  When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promotors of nonviolent peacemaking.  In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.”

Violence leads to forced migrations and enormous suffering , devastation of the environment, terrorism and organized crime. It leads to retaliation and a deadly cycle that end up benefiting only a few warlords.

But, Pope Francis said, Christ’s message offers a radically positive approach. He himself walked the path of nonviolence and became an instrument of reconciliation.

And citing historical figures like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King as models of nonviolent peacemakers, the Pope said nonviolence is more powerful than violence and it  has produced impressive results.

He recalled the contribution of Christian communities in the fall of Communist regimes pointing out that peaceful political transitions were made using only the weapons of truth and justice. And he remarked that such efforts are not the legacy of the Catholic Church alone but are typical of many religious traditions.

“The Church has been involved in nonviolent peacebuilding strategies in many countries, engaging even the most violent parties in efforts to build a just and lasting peace.

Such efforts on behalf of the victims of injustice and violence are not the legacy of the Catholic Church alone, but are typical of many religious traditions, for which “compassion and nonviolence are essential elements pointing to the way of life”.   I emphatically reaffirm that “no religion is terrorist”. Violence profanes the name of God.   Let us never tire of repeating: “The name of God cannot be used to justify violence.  Peace alone is holy.  Peace alone is holy, not war!”

Emphasizing also the domestic roots of a politics of nonviolence, Pope Francis said that while he pleads for disarmament and the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons, with equal urgency he pleads for an end to domestic violence and to the abuse of women and children.

“My invitation to  political, religious and economic leaders is to take up the challenge of building up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers, to choose solidarity as a way of making history.”

In a world in which everything is connected, he said, active nonviolence is a way of showing that unity is more powerful and more fruitful than conflict, and that differences can be faced constructively and non-violently preserving “what is valid and useful on both sides”.

“All of us want peace,” Francis concludes: “In 2017, may we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds: (…) Everyone can be an artisan of peace,”

Click here for the complete message: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-nonviolence-a-style-of-politics-for-p

POPE NAMES FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF RENEWAL INSTITUTE OF PONTIFICAL RIGHT

(CNA/EWTN News) – Pope Francis has officially recognized the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal as a religious institute of pontifical right, the order has announced.

Institutions of pontifical right depend immediately and exclusively on the Vatican in the matters of internal governance and discipline. It is the highest form of recognition for a religious community and is granted to institutes that show steady growth over a period of approximately 20-25 years.

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, sometimes referred to as the CFRs, were founded in 1987 in the Archdiocese of New York by a group of eight American Capuchins who desired a form of Franciscan life dedicated specifically to service of the poor and evangelization.

The group was established as a diocesan institute by Cardinal John O’Connor in 1999.

Today, the order has about 100 perpetually professed members in 10 dioceses and archdioceses in six countries throughout the world. Besides the United States, the friars are located in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Nicaragua and Honduras.

Father Benedict Groeschel was one of the founding members of the CFRs. During his life as a friar, he founded the St. Francis House for the homeless and Good Counsel Homes for pregnant women in crisis in New York. He also directed Trinity Retreat House in Larchmont, New York, and taught at the Dunwoodie seminary.

In addition, he became known as an author and preacher. For more than 25 years, he appeared on EWTN, hosting Sunday Night: Live With Father Benedict Groeschel, among other programs. He passed away in October 2014 at the age of 81.

The friars are dedicated to their mission of serving the poor and most vulnerable, as well as preaching the Gospel as part of the New Evangelization.

Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, a founding member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, has been teaching and preaching retreats and parish missions for several decades. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the apparitions at Fatima. In additio to being the vice-postulator for the cause for the canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, he hosts Sunday Night Prime on EWTN.

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR WORLD DAY OF PEACE: “OVERCOME INDIFFERENCE AND WIN PEACE”

There are so many stories I wanted to post today but I want to focus on what we most need in our world – what people around the world are seeking every day they draw breath – and that peace. And Pope Francis today gave us a tool in the search for peace – his 2016 World Day of Peace Message. That day is celebrated every year on January 1.

Below is a summary of the papal message and a link to the complete, 4,500-word document.

Before I bring you the peace message, I want to tell you about St. Peter’s Square. I was crossing the square last night about 5:30, the first time I had been there since the inauguration of the Holy Year. The route that pilgrims follow from Castel Sant’Angelo to and through the square and then the Holy Door of St. Peter’s (after having reserved a day and time online or at Via della Conciliazione, 7), is clearly marked by a metal, fence-like structure. Along the route there are Jubilee volunteers who wear yellow vests.

When coming home from the north side of the square, I generally go through the right hand colonnade and cross the square in an area where chairs are often set up for general audiences. However, I observed three things yesterday.

  1. You can’t access the square through the right hand colonnade – this is where the security machines are for pilgrims going to the Holy Door. This arrangement will surely last the entire Holy Year. Access to St. Peter’s Square is through the left hand colonnade or through only one opening on the Pius XII side of the square.
  2. There were few pilgrims last night at that hour who wanted to go through the Holy Door, so volunteers let people enter the area to start the security check without reservations. (If you are in Rome now, this might work as the crowds are not great at that hour)
  3. The north side of Pius XII Square – Pza. Pio XII – is where taxis have parked for years – a very handy site for people leaving their offices, tourists who need a taxi, etc. A policeman told me the taxi stand is now at the far end of Via della Conciliazione, near Castel Sant’Angelo.

Another piece of news that I will look at more in depth tomorrow. The Vatican warned us about them and, sure enough, they have come in droves to the Jubilee – counterfeiters! The Italian equivalent of treasury police have closed down vendors and are prosecuting store owners who are selling fake Jubilee rosaries, papal images, Holy Door copies and other religious items, especially papal blessings. As of January 2015 ONLY the Vatican’s Apostolic Almoner can make and sell papal blessings. They are not legally available outside Vatican City.  More tomorrow about this story, the official Jubilee emblem, etc. (photo. Guardia di Finanza)

Le false benedizioni apostoliche per i pellegrini del Giubileo sequestrate dalla Guardia di Finanza. Sulle pergamene contraffatte gli stemmi pontifici e le foto di Papa Francesco, 14 dicembre 2015. ANSA / UFFICIO STAMPA GUARDIA DI FINANZA  ++  ANSA PROVIDES ACCESS TO THIS HANDOUT PHOTO TO BE USED SOLELY TO ILLUSTRATE NEWS REPORTING OR COMMENTARY ON THE FACTS OR EVENTS DEPICTED IN THIS IMAGE; NO ARCHIVING; NO LICENSING  ++

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR WORLD DAY OF PEACE: “OVERCOME INDIFFERENCE AND WIN PEACE”

Pope Francis on Tuesday issued his message for the World Day of Peace January 1, 2016. The theme of the Message is: “Overcome indifference and win peace.”

In the message, dated December 8, 2015, the Pope acknowledged the various forms of war, terrorism, and persecution present in today’s world, but said there is reason to hope. He cited several events over the course of the year 2015, including the various initiatives confronting climate change, the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and the Jubilee of Mercy. (photo: Franciscan.org)

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Referencing the theme of the message, the Holy Father then highlighted various forms of indifference in society. First, there is indifference to God, which in turn leads to indifference to one’s neighbor and subsequently to the environment.

Pope Francis also addressed what he referred to as an “indifference to mercy,” as seen with the Genesis account of Cain murdering his brother Abel. In contrast, God intervenes, the message reads: “He sees, hears, comes down, and delivers. God does not remain indifferent. He is attentive and He acts.”

“Mercy is the heart of God,” the Pope writes, and therefore must be the heart of all His children.

Pope Francis said we are called to “compassion, love, mercy and solidarity” in our relationships with one another. He added that “the conversion of our hearts” is needed for us to become “open to others in authentic solidarity.” The Pope called for the building of a culture of solidarity and mercy in order to overcome indifference.

This begins with families, which are the “first place where the values of love, fraternity, togetherness and sharing, concern and care for others are lived out and handed on.” He spoke also of the role of teachers, and communicators. The Pope added that communicators in particular should be “mindful” of how they obtain and disseminate information, saying their methods should always be “legally and morally admissible.”

Pope Francis went on to say that peace is the fruit of a culture of solidarity, mercy, and compassion.

It is also a sign of the Jubilee of Mercy, which began December 8, in which all are called to recognize indifference, and “improve the world around us.”

The Holy Father said these efforts begin with our families, neighbors, and places of employment. They extend to civil society’s care for vulnerable persons, such as “prisoners, migrants, the unemployed, and the infirm.”

On the subject of migrants, the Pope asked that legislation on migration be reviewed, in a way that facilitates their integration into society, with special attention given to legal residency in order to avoid criminal behavior.

Pope Francis appealed to national leaders to offer assistance to men and women suffering from lack of work, land, and lodging.

He concluded by entrusting the reflections contained in the message to the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Vatican Radio)

CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE MESSAGE: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/peace/documents/papa-francesco_20151208_messaggio-xlix-giornata-mondiale-pace-2016.html

POPE FRANCIS STARTS NEW CATECHESIS ON THE FAMILY, RECOUNTS “THE TRUE SYNOD” – POPE WRITES MESSAGE FOR PHILADELPHIA MEETING OF FAMILIES – “SLAVES NO MORE, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS”

There was a broad, beautiful, thought-provoking array of news today at the Vatican, including Pope Francis’ weekly general audience with a new catechesis on the family, the publication of the Pope’s message for the January 1, 2015 World Day of Peace, entitled “Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters,” and his Message to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Eighth World Meeting of Families in September 2015 in Philadelphia on the theme, “Love is our mission: the family fully alive.”

Also taking place in the Vatican is the December 9-11 meeting of the C9, the Council of Cardinals who are advising the Pope on the reform of the curia and many other matters. The C9 members are Cardinals Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State; Francisco Javier Errazuria Ossa, archbishop-emeritus of Santigo de Chile; Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay; Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa; Sean Patrick O’Malley OFM Cap, archbishop of Boston; George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy; Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, SDB, archbishop of Tegucigalpa and Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State.

I am giving a lot of attention to the Pope’s general audience catechesis (a new one) on the family today for a number of reasons. In the first place, the title of today’s audience was “The True Synod.” I found that fascinating as it made me think of the many news stories, one often quite at variance with another, that came out of the October synod, causing not a little consternation among faithful Catholics who thought that some teachings of the Church were being too easily bandied about and subject to change.

It seems that Pope Francis today – can we say, “at last” – has answered some of those questions and put doubts to rest. And surely we will hear a lot more in coming weeks, and perhaps months, on the topic of the past and future synods and the focus of the new catecheses – the family

Below you will find the VIS account of the entire audience, and that is followed by some “short takes” on the other news of the day, especially Pope Francis’ Message for World Day of Peace where he speaks of “globalizing fraternity, not slavery or indifference,” “the many faces of slavery, yesterday and today,” and the phenomenon of man’s subjugation by man.” A sad, sad commentary on the world we live in!

Here are some of my favorite phrases from Pope Francis’ catechesis today (translated from the Italian):

“During the synod, the media did its work – there was great anticipation, much attention – and we thank them because they did their work in abundance. So many pieces of news. So many! This was all possible thanks to the press office that had a briefing every day. But often the media’s vision was a little in the style of a sports or political (writer): they often spoke of ‘two teams’, ‘for and against’, ‘conservative or progressive’, etc., etc. Today I want to tell you what the synod was.”

“No speech ever put into discussion the fundamental truth of the Sacrament of Matrimony, that is: indissolubility, unity, fidelity and openness to life. This was not touched.”

“Everything took place ‘cum Petro et sub Petro’, that is, with the presence of the Pope, which is the guarantee for everyone of freedom and trust, and a guarantee of orthodoxy. And at the end, with my speech I gave a summary of the synodal experience. Therefore, the documents that came out of the synod are three: The Final message, the Final Report and the final speech of the Pope. There are no others.”

POPE FRANCIS STARTS NEW CATECHESIS ON THE FAMILY, RECOUNTS “THE TRUE SYNOD”

(VIS) – Having concluded his weekly series of catecheses on the Church, Pope Francis began a new series dedicated to the family at today’s general audience, saying this is “a new cycle in this intermediate period between two synod assemblies dedicated to this important reality.” Before considering the different aspects of family life, Francis began by speaking about the synod held this past October on the theme, “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of new evangelization.”

The Pope explained that, first of all he asked the Synod Fathers to speak frankly and courageously and to listen with humility.

The Holy Father first praised the work of the Holy See Press Office during the Synod, and the good work accomplished by the media responsible for covering the assembly. He went on to mention the events and results of the assembly, and emphasised that at no point was there any form of censorship and that the Synod Fathers were entirely free to speak frankly. “The only think I asked of them was that they speak with sincerity and courage, and listen with humility.”

 (Vatican Radio reported that,“The Holy Father told the thousands of faithful present that he wanted to share with them what took place and what the Synod has produced. He said that, that during this time there was much media attention on the work being done at the Synod and for that the Pope expressed his thanks. But, Pope Francis added, often the vision of the media was a bit ‘in the style of sports or political coverage: “they often spoke of two teams, pro and con, conservatives and liberals, and so on.”

”The Pope explained that, first of all he asked the Synod Fathers to speak frankly and courageously and to listen with humility. He also stressed there was no prior censorship and that everyone had the chance to say what was in his heart.)

He explained that the Instrumentum laboris always remained the basis of all the interventions that took place, and that this document was the result of a previous consultation involving all of the Church. He remarked that “no intervention challenged the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of Marriage: indissolubility, unity, fidelity and openness to life.” All these interventions, in a second phase, were gathered together and gave rise to the Relatio post disceptationem or the post-discussion report, which was divided into three sections: listening to the context and the challenges to the family; looking steadily at Christ and the Gospel of the family, and comparison with pastoral perspectives. The third phase, the group discussions, followed this first approach at a summary. Finally, at the end of its work, each group presented a report and all the group reports were published immediately, “with transparency, so that what was happening was made known”.

Finally, a commission examined all the suggestions that emerged from the groups and the a Final Report was produced, maintaining the same structure as before – listening, looking to the Gospel and pastoral ministry – which was then sent to all the Episcopal Conferences worldwide to enable discussion prior to the Ordinary Assembly, scheduled for October 2015. As always, a Final Message from the Synod was approved, more concise and informative compared to the Report. The Holy Father remarked that the Synod Fathers “did not argue, but there were animated discussions. This is the freedom of the Church”, and added that there are three official Synod documents: the Final Message, the Final Report, and the Pope’s concluding discourse.

The Bishop of Rome emphasized that the Synod is not a parliament but rather a protected space that allows the Holy Spirit to intervene, and that now the work of prayer, reflection and fraternal discussion must continue in the particular Churches in preparation for the upcoming Assembly. “Let us commend it to the protection of the Virgin Mother, so that she may help us to follow God’s will in making pastoral decisions that offer greater and better help to families”, he concluded.

POPE WRITES MESSAGE FOR PHILADELPHIA MEETING OF FAMILIES

(VIS) – The 7th World Meeting of Families will take place from 22 to 27 September 2015 in Philadelphia, U.S.A., and its theme will be “Love is our mission: the family fully alive”, as announced by Pope Francis in a letter addressed to Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, in which he also confirms his attendance at the event.

Francis remarked that during the recent Synod on the family the most urgent issues affecting the family in our society were identified, and he underlined that “we cannot qualify a family with ideological concepts, we cannot speak about a conservative family or a progressive family. The family is the family! The values and virtues of the family, its essential truths, are the strong points on which the family nucleus rests, and they cannot be called into question”. We are required, instead, to “review our style of life, that is always open to the risk of being ‘contaminated’ by a worldly mentality – individualist, consumerist, hedonistic – and to rediscover the high road, to live and to propose the greatness and beauty of marriage and the joy and being and forming a family.”

For entire Message in English, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/papal-message-for-the-world-meeting-of-families-in

“SLAVES NO MORE, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS”

Two excerpts from the Holy Father’s Message for the 48th World Day of Peace, to be held on January 1, 2015 on the theme “Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters.’ For the full text, click on the link below:

“At the beginning of this New Year, which we welcome as God’s gracious gift to all humanity, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to every man and woman, to all the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious leaders. In doing so, I pray for an end to wars, conflicts and the great suffering caused by human agency, by epidemics past and present, and by the devastation wrought by natural disasters. I pray especially that, on the basis of our common calling to cooperate with God and all people of good will for the advancement of harmony and peace in the world, we may resist the temptation to act in a manner unworthy of our humanity.”

“…..Tragically, the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man gravely damages the life of communion and our calling to forge interpersonal relations marked by respect, justice and love. This abominable phenomenon, which leads to contempt for the fundamental rights of others and to the suppression of their freedom and dignity, takes many forms. I would like briefly to consider these, so that, in the light of God’s word, we can consider all men and women ‘no longer slaves, but brothers and sisters’.”

For entire Message, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/2015-world-day-of-peace-message-no-longer-slaves-b