“THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE” (JN 8:32) FAKE NEWS AND JOURNALISM FOR PEACE

“THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE” (JN 8:32) FAKE NEWS AND JOURNALISM FOR PEACE

“’The truth will set you free’ (JN 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace” is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 2018 World Day of Social Communications.

The text of the Holy Father’s Message for the World Day of Social Communications is traditionally published on the January 24 feast day of Saint Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.

A statement from the Secretariat for Communications notes that the theme chosen for the 52nd World Day of Social Communications 2018 relates to so-called “fake news,” namely, baseless information that contributes to generating and nurturing a strong polarisation of opinions. It involves an often misleading distortion of facts, with possible repercussions at the level of individual and collective behaviour.

In a context in which the key companies of the social web and the world of institutions and politics have started to confront this phenomenon, the Church too wishes to offer a contribution, proposing a reflection on the causes, the logic and the consequences of disinformation in the media, and helping to promote professional journalism, which always seeks the truth, and therefore a journalism of peace that promotes understanding between people.

World Day of Social Communications, the only world day established by Vatican Council II (“Inter Mirifica”, 1963), is celebrated in many countries, by recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday preceding Pentecost (in 2018, 13 May).

 

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VATICAN INSIDER: MSGR JOHN KOZAR AND CNEWA – MARRIAGE, A REALITY FOR ALL, NOT AN “IDEAL FOR THE FEW” – COMMUNICATION AND MERCY: A FRUITFUL ENCOUNTER

I got a big kick today out of the fact that Pope Francis, in his Message for the 50th World Day of Social Communications, as his very first quote about communications and mercy, cited Shakespeare’s words from The Merchant of Venice: “The quality of mercy is not strained.  It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.  It is twice blessed: it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

This brought a smile to my face because the opening quote in my book, A Holy Year in Rome, is the entire quote from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice!

This was the very first quote that came to mind on March 13 of last year when I heard Pope Francis announce he was calling for a Jubilee of Mercy!

VATICAN INSIDER: MSGR JOHN KOZAR AND CNEWA

Please join me for Part II of my conversation with Msgr. John Kozar, president of CNEWA, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association for almost five years now. He came to that post after serving as national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. He was in Rome for a series of meetings and found time to be my guest on Vatican Insider. We learn what CNEWA is and does, where it works and we talk about current and future projects.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

MARRIAGE, A REALITY FOR ALL, NOT AN “IDEAL FOR THE FEW”

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday said the Church’s teaching on marriage is not an “ideal for the few” but “a reality that, in the grace of Christ, can be experienced by all the baptized.”

The Holy Father was speaking the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, the Vatican court which mainly deals with marriage annulment cases.

ROMAN ROTA Jan 22

In his address inaugurating the judicial year, Pope Francis said the court’s role as Tribunal of the Family, and its role as Tribunal of the Truth of the Sacred Bond are complementary.

“The Church… can show the unfailing merciful love of God to families – especially those wounded by sin and the trials of life – and, at the same time, proclaim the essential truth of marriage according to God’s design,” Pope Francis said.

“When the Church, through your service, sets about to declare the truth about marriage in a concrete case, for the good of the faithful, at the same time you must always remember that those who, by choice or unhappy circumstances of life, are living in an objective state of error, continue to be the object of the merciful love of Christ and thus the Church herself,” he continued.

The Holy Father pointed out the recent two-year Synod process on the family said to the world that “there can be no confusion” between the family as willed by God, and every other type of union.

Reaffirming the doctrine of the Church, the Holy Father said the “quality of faith” is not an essential condition of marital consent, and pointed out the faith infused at baptism continues to have influence on the soul even “when it has not been developed and even seems to be psychologically absent.”

He added it is not uncommon for couples to discover “the fullness of God’s plan” for marriage after their wedding, when they have begun to experience family life.

“Therefore,” concluded Francis, “the Church, with a renewed sense of responsibility, continues to propose marriage in its essentials – offspring, good of the couple, unity, indissolubility, sacramentality – not as ideal only for a few – notwithstanding modern models centered on the ephemeral and the transient – but as a reality that, in the grace of Christ, can be experienced by all the baptized faithful.”

COMMUNICATION AND MERCY: A FRUITFUL ENCOUNTER

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ message for the 50th World Day of Social Communications was released at a press conference in the Vatican on Friday. The message, entitled  ‘Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter’ is focused on the responsibility of all communicators to promote caring and healthy relationships in our fragmented and polarized world.

Quoting from Shakespeare, the Gospels and the Old Testament, the Pope reminds us that, as Christians, our “every word and gesture, ought to express God’s compassion, tenderness and forgiveness for all”. If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity and divine love, he says, then our communication will be touched by God’s power too.

As sons and daughters of God, the message stresses, we are called to communicate with everyone, without exception.  Communication, the Pope insists, has the power to build bridges, to enable encounter and inclusion, to heal wounded memories and thus to enrich society. In both the material and the digital world, he says, our words and actions should help us all “escape the vicious circles of condemnation and vengeance which continue to ensnare individuals and nations, encouraging expressions of hatred”.

Pope Francis invites all people of good will to rediscover the power of mercy to heal wounded relationships and to restore peace and harmony to families and communities.  Even when ancient wounds and lingering resentments stand in the way of communication and reconciliation, he says, mercy is able to create a new kind of speech and dialogue.

Our political and diplomatic language in particular, the Pope says, would do well to be inspired by mercy, which never loses hope He appeals to political and institutional leaders, as well as the media and opinion makers to remain especially attentive to the way they speak of those who think or act differently.  Even when condemning sins such as violence, corruption and exploitation, the Pope says, we must speak with meekness and mercy that can touch hearts, rather than with harsh, moralistic words that can further alienate those we wish to convert.

True communication, the Pope says, means listening, valuing, respecting and being able to share questions and doubts. Online or in social networks, he stresses, we must remember that it’s not technology which guarantees authentic communication, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal.

The Pope concludes by encouraging everyone “to see society not as a forum where strangers compete and try to come out on top, but above all as a home or a family, where the door is always open and where everyone feels welcome”.

For complete Message, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/popes-message-communication-and-mercy-a-fruitful-e

POPE TO MEDIA ON PLANE: “I AM NOT A STAR BUT THE SERVANT OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD” – THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

POPE FRANCIS TWEETED ON MONDAY: With my heartfelt thanks. May the love of Christ always guide the American people! #GodBlessAmerica

You know, of course, that the Holy Father is back in Rome, having arrived yesterday morning in the Eternal City and going, as is his wont, to St. Mary Major Basilica to thank Our Lady, in the image of Salus Populi Romani, for a successful trip.

POPE-ST MARY MAJOR

By the way, here is one of my favorite stories from the Pope’s time in the U.S., and I’m guessing you may have read it somewhere as it went viral:

Before returning to Rome, Pope Francis on Sunday met with an Argentinian family who, in a Vokswagen bus, traveled for 200 days through 13 countries in the Americas to be in Philadelphia for the papal visit to the World Meeting of Families. The Walker family – Mom, Dad and four children aged 3 to 12 – met Francis on his last morning in the U.S. at the St. Charles Borromeo seminary which had been his home in Philadelphia. (photo Ap – news.va)

POPE-ARgentinian FAMILY

Catire Walker told journalists Pope Francis greeted them by saying “Are you the family who traveled from Buenos Aires? You’re crazy!” He said the meeting was “casual,” and he told the Pope thousands of families were praying for him.

Papal spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said, “The Pope told me explicitly to say [that he had met with the family] because for him it was a very interesting moment, and the experience of this family has touched him very much.” The family said the meeting was the “best gift of all” after their long journey.

POPE TO MEDIA ON PLANE: “I AM NOT A STAR BUT THE SERVANT OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD”

I did post several blogs on Sunday with updates on the papal trip but did not, for many reasons beyond my control, get this piece of news out about the papal press conference on the plane returing to Rome. I was able, however, to post it on Facebook as soon as the full translation of the papal press conference became available.

This is truly worth reading – every word. In addition, it will probably answer a few questions you may have had – the same as some asked by the journalists.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is back in the Vatican after his 10th apostolic journey abroad which took him to Cuba, to the United States and to the United Nations in New York.

During the flight that brought him back to Rome he spoke to journalists aboard the Papal plane, touching on many issues including his just concluded visit, the sex abuse scandal in the Church, the right to be a conscientious objector, a peace accord in Colombia, migration and the upcoming Synod on the Family. Following is the Vatican Radio report: (photo: news.va)

POPE PRESS CONFERENCE

To the questions put to him by 11 journalists in different languages, Pope Francis’ answers ranged from the political to the personal. Describing his welcome to the United States as warm, exuberant and expressive, in one word: wonderful, Pope Francis said the greatest challenge for the US Church is to stay close to the people and accompany them in good and bad times.

Going on to repeat his condemnation of priests who sexually abused children, he point out that sexual abuse is not confined to the Church but that it is worse when committed by men of religion who betray their vocation.

He elaborated on questions regarding the upcoming Synod on the Family pointing out that there is no such thing as a “Catholic divorce” and that the Church has the responsibility of preparing couples much better for their life-long commitment to marriage.  He talked of “conscientious objection” which, he said, “must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right.”

And asked about barriers being but up in Europe to stop the influx of migrants, the Pope  said: “All walls collapse sooner or later”. The solution, he said, must be found through dialogue. With barriers – he continued – the problem remains – and with it, more hatred.

Finally, noting that he has become a “star” in the United States a reporter asked Pope Francis whether this was good for the Church.

“The media uses this term – he answered –  but a Pope is the servant of the servants of God. “How many stars have we seen that go out and fall?” he remarked, “On the other hand, being servant of the servants of God is something that doesn’t pass.

Here is Vatican Radio’s transcript of the entire press conference:

Pope Francis:  Good evening to all and thank you for the work because you went about from one place to the other and I was in a car but you… thank you very much.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine: Thank you so much Holy Father Elizabeth Dias from TIME magazine. We are all so curious…this was your first visit to the US. What surprised you about the US and what was different to what you might have expected?

Pope Francis:  It was my first visit. I’d never been here before. What surprised me was the warmth, the warmth of the people, so lovable. It was a beautiful thing and also different: in Washington the welcome was warm but more formal; New York was a bit exuberant. Philadelphia very expressive. Three different kinds of welcome. I was very struck by this kindness and welcome but also by the religious ceremonies and also by the piety, the religiosity of the people… you could see the people pray and this struck me a lot. Beautiful.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine: Was there some sort of challenge that you didn’t expect in the United States?

Pope Francis:  No, thank God no…everything was good. No challenge. No provocation. Everyone was polite. No insults and nothing bad.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine: Well, what is the challenge?

Pope Francis:  We must continue to work with the faithful like we have always done, until now. Accompanying people in their growth – through the good times but also through the difficult ones – accompanying people in their joy and in their bad moments, in their difficulties when there is no work, ill health. The challenge of the Church… now I understand: the Church’s challenge is staying close to the people. Close to the United States… not being a Church which is detached from the people but close to them, close, close and this is something that the Church in America has understood, and understood well.

David O’Reilly, Philadelphia Inquirer:  Holy Father: Philadelphia, as you know, has had a very difficult time with sex abuse. It’s still an open wound in Philadelphia. So I know many people in Philadelphia were surprised that you offered bishops comfort and consolation and I think many in Philadelphia would ask you why did you feel the need to offer compassion to the bishops?

Pope Francis:  In Washington I spoke to all the US bishops… they were all there no? I felt the need to express compassion because something really terrible happened. And many of them suffered who did not know of this. I used words from the bible from Apocalypse: You are coming from a large tribulation. What happened was a great tribulation. But also the suffering (emotional). What I said today to the victims of abuse. I wouldn’t say an apotheosis but almost a sacrilege. We know abuses are everywhere: in families, in neighborhoods, in schools, in gyms. But when a priest abuses it is very serious because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy, that girl, grow towards the love of God, toward maturity, and towards good. Instead this is squashed and this is nearly a sacrilege and he betrayed his vocation, the calling of the Lord. For this reason the Church is strong on this and one must not cover these things up. Those who covered this up are guilty. Even some bishops who covered this up, It is a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say: ”Don’t worry that was nothing… no, no, no even some bishops who covered this up, It’s a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say “don’t worry that was nothing…no, no , no, but it was so bad that I imagine that you cried hard”… that was the sense of what I meant and today I spoke strongly.

Maria Antonieta Collins, Univision: You have spoken a lot about forgiveness, that God forgives us and that we often ask for forgiveness. I would like to ask you, after you were at the seminary today. There are many priests that have committed sexual abuses to minors and have not asked for forgiveness for their victims. Do you forgive them? And on the other hand, do you understand the victims or their relatives who can’t or don’t want to forgive?

Pope Francis:  If a person has done wrong, is conscious of what he has done and does not say sorry, I ask God to take him into account. I forgive him, but he does not receive that forgiveness, he is closed to forgiveness. We must forgive, because we were all forgiven. It is another thing to receive that forgiveness. If that priest is closed to forgiveness, he won’t receive it, because he locked the door from the inside. And what remains is to pray for the Lord to open that door. To forgive you must be willing. But not everyone can receive or know how to receive it, or are just not willing to receive it. What I’m saying is hard. And that is how you explain how there are people who finish their life hardened, badly, without receiving the tenderness of God.

Maria Antonieta Collins, Univision: Regarding victims or relatives who don’t forgive  – do you understand them?

Pope Francis:  Yes, I do. I pray for them. And I don’t judge them. Once, in one of these meetings, I met several people and I met a woman who told me “When my mother found out that I had been abused, she became blasphemous, she lost her faith and she died an atheist.” I understand that woman. I understand here. And God who is even better than me, understands her. And I’m sure that that woman has been received by God. Because what was abused,  destroyed, was her own flesh, the flesh of her daughter. I understand her. I don’t judge someone who can’t forgive. I pray and I ask God… God is a champion in finding paths of solutions. I ask him to fix it.

Andres Beltramo, Notimex: Thanks, first of all for this moment. We’ve all heard you speak so much about the peace process in Colombia between the FARC and the government. Now, there’s an historic agreement. Do you feel involved in this agreement and you’ve said that you wished to go to Colombia when this agreement was made, right? Now there are a lot of Colombians awaiting you.

Pope Francis:  When I heard the news that in March the accord will be signed I said to the Lord, ‘Lord, help us reach March.’  The willingness is there on both sides. It is there, even in the small group, everyone is in agreement. We have to reach March, for the definitive accord, which is the point of international justice. I was very happy and I felt like I was a a part of it because I’ve always wanted this. I spoke to president Santos twice about this problem. Not only myself, but also the Holy See. The Holy See was always willing to help and do what it could.      Thomas Jansen, CIC: Holy Father, I wanted to ask something about the migrant crisis in Europe. Many countries are building new barriers out of barbed wire. What do you think of this development?

Pope Francis: You used a word, crisis. It’s become a state of crisis after a long process. For years, this process has exploded because wars for which those people leave and flee are wars waged for years. Hunger. It’s hunger for years. When I think of Africa… this is a bit simplistic. But I see it as an example. It comes to me to think about Africa, “the exploited continent.” They went to pick up the slaves there, then its great resources. It’s the exploited continent. And, now the wars, tribal or not. But they have economic interests behind them. And, I think that instead of exploiting a continent or a nation, make investments there instead so the people are able to work and this crisis would have been avoided. It’s true, as I said at Congress, it’s a refugee crisis not seen since World War II. It’s the biggest. You asked me about barriers. You know what happens to all walls. All of them. All walls fall. Today, tomorrow or in 100 years, they will fall. It’s not a solution. The Wall isn’t a solution. In this moment, Europe is in difficulty, it’s true. We have to be intelligent. We must find solutions. We must encourage dialogue between different nations, to find them. Walls are never solutions. But bridges are, always, always. I don’t know. What I think is that walls can last a little time or a long time. The problem remains but it also remains with more hatred. That’s what I think.

Jean Marie Guenois, Le Figaro: Holy Father, you obviously cannot anticipate the debate of the synod fathers, we know that well. But we want to know just before the Synod, in your heart as a pastor, if you really want a solution for the divorced and remarried. We want to also know if your ‘motu proprio’ on the speeding-up of annulments has closed this debate. Finally, how do you respond to those who fear that with this reform, there is a de-facto creation of a so-called ‘Catholic divorce.’ Thank you.

Pope Francis:  I’ll start with the last one. In the reform of the procedure and the way, I closed the door to the administrative path, which was the path through which divorce could have entered. You could say that those who think this is ‘Catholic divorce’ are wrong because this last document has closed the door to divorce by which it could have entered. It would have been easier with the administrative path. There will always be the judicial path. Continuing with the third (question): the document…. I don’t remember the third but you correct me.

Jean Marie Guenois, Le Figaro: The question was on the notion of Catholic divorce, if the motu proprio has closed the debate before the synod on this theme?

Pope Francis: This was called for by the majority of the Synod fathers in the synod last year: streamline the process because there are cases that last 10-15 years, no? There’s one sentence, then another sentence, and after there’s an appeal, there’s the appeal then another appeal. It never ends.  The double sentence, when it was valid that there was an appeal, was introduced by Papa Lambertini, Benedict XIV, because in central Europe, I won’t say which country, there were some abuses, and to stop it he introduced this but it’s not something essential to the process. The procedure changes, jurisprudence changes, it gets better. At that time it was urgent to do this, then Pius X wanted to streamline and made some changes but he didn’t have the time or the possibility to do it. The Synod fathers asked for it, the speeding up of the annulment processes. And I stop there. This document, this ‘motu proprio’ facilitates the processes and the timing, but it is not divorce because marriage is indissoluble when it is a sacrament. And this the Church cannot change. It’s doctrine. It’s an indissoluble sacrament. The legal trial is to prove that what seemed to be a sacrament wasn’t a sacrament, for lack of freedom for example, or for lack of maturity, or for mental illness. There are so many reasons that bring about (an annulment), after a study, an investigation. That there was no sacrament. For example, that the person wasn’t free.  Another example: now it’s not so common but in some sectors of common society at least in Buenos Aires, there were weddings when the woman got pregnant: ‘you have to get married.’ In Buenos Aires, I counselled my priests, strongly, I almost prohibited them to celebrate weddings in these conditions. We called them “speedy weddings”, eh? (They were) to cover up appearances. And the babies are born, and some work out but there’s no freedom and then things go wrong little by little they separate (and say) ‘I was forced to get married because we had to cover up this situation” and this is a reason for nullity. So many of them.  Cases of nullity, you have, you can find them (the reasons) on the internet there all there are many, eh? Then, the issue of the second weddings, the divorcees, who make a new union. You read what, you have the “instrumentum laboris.” what is put in discussion seems a bit simplistic to me to say that the Synod is the solution for these people and that they can have communion. That’s not the only solution. No, what the “Instrumentum laboris” proposes is a lot more, and also the problem of the new unions of divorcees isn’t the only problem. In the “Instrumentum laboris” there are many. For example, young people don’t get married. They don’t want to get married. It’s a pastoral problem for the Church. Another problem: the affective maturity for a marriage. Another problem: faith. ‘Do I believe that this is for ever? Yes, yes, yes, I believe.’ ‘But do you believe it?’ the preparation for a wedding: I think so often that to become a priest there’s a preparation for 8 years, and then, its not definite, the Church can take the clerical state away from you. But, for something lifelong, they do four courses! 4 times… Something isn’t right. It’s something the Synod has to deal with: how to do preparation for marriage. It’s one of the most difficult things. There are many problems, they’re all are listed in the “Instrumentum laboris.” But, I like that you asked the question about ‘Catholic divorce.’ That doesn’t exist. Either it wasn’t a marriage, and this is nullity — it didn’t exist. And if it did, it’s indissoluble. This is clear. Thank you.

Terry Moran, ABC News: Holy Father, thank you, thank you very much and thank you to the Vatican staff as well. Holy Father, you visited the Little Sisters of the Poor and we were told that you wanted to show your support for them and their case in the courts. And, Holy Father, do you also support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example in issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?      Pope Francis: I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection. But, yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying ‘this right that has merit, this one does not.’ It (conscientious objection) is a human right. It always moved me when I read, and I read it many times, when I read the “Chanson de Roland” when the people were all in line and before them was the baptismal font and they had to choose between the baptismal font or the sword. They had to choose. They weren’t permitted conscientious objection. It is a right and if we want to make peace we have to respect all rights.

Terry Moran, ABC News: Would that include government officials as well?      Pope Francis:  It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.

Stefano Maria Paci, Sky News: Holiness, you used very strong words at the UN to denounce the world’s silence on the persecution of Christians, who are deprived of their homes, thrown out, deprived of their possessions, enslaved and brutally killed. Yesterday, President Hollande announced the beginning of a bombing campaign by France on ISIS bases in Syria. What do you think of this military action?   Also, the mayor of Rome, city of the Jubilee, declared that he came to the World Meeting of Families because you invited him.  Can you tell us how it went?

Pope Francis: I will start with your second question.  I did not invite Mayor Marino. Is that clear?  I didn’t do it and I asked the organizers and they didn’t invite him either. He came. He professes to be a Catholic and he came spontaneously. That’s the first thing. But it is clear, heh? And now about bombardments. Truly, I heard the news the day before yesterday, and I haven’t read about it. I don’t know much about the situation. I heard that Russia took one position and it wasn’t clear yet about the United States.  I truly don’t know what to say because I haven’t fully understood the situation. But, when I hear the word bombing, death, blood… I repeat what I said in Congress and at the UN, to avoid these things. But, I don’t know, I can’t judge the political situation because I don’t know enough about it.

Miriam Schmidt, German DPA Agency: Holy Father, I wanted to ask a question about the relationship of the Holy See with China and the situation in this country which is also quite difficult for the Catholic Church. What do you think about this?

Pope Francis: China is a great nation that offers the world a great culture, so many good things. I said once on the plane when were flying over China when we were coming back from Korea that I would very much like so much to go to China. I love the Chinese people and I hope there is possibility of having good relations, good relations. We’re in contact, we talk, we are moving forward but for me, having a friend of a great country like China, which has so much culture and has so much opportunity to do good, would be a joy.

Maria Sagrarios Ruiz de Apodaca, RNE: Thank you. Good evening, Holy Father. You have visited the U.S. for the first time, you had never been there before. You spoke to Congress, you spoke to the United Nations. You drew multitudes. Do you feel more powerful? And another question, we heard you draw attention to the role of religious women, of the women in the Church in the United States. Will we one day see women priests in the Catholic church as some groups in the U.S. ask, and some other Christian churches have?

Pope Francis: He’s telling me not to answer in Spanish (referring to Fr. Federico Lombardi.) The sisters in the United States have done marvels in the field of education, in the field of health. The people of the United States love the sisters. I don’t know how much they love the priests, (laughs) but they love the sisters, they love them so much. They are great, they are great, great, great women. Then, one follows her congregation, their rules, there are differences. But are they great. And for that reason I felt the obligation to say thank you for what they have done. An important person of the government of the United States told me in the last few days: “The education I have, I owe above all to the sisters.” The sisters have schools in all neighborhoods, rich and poor. They work with the poor and in the hospitals. This was the first. The second? The first I remember, the second?

Maria Sagrarios Ruiz de Apodaca, RNE If you feel powerful after having been in the United States with your schedule and having been successful?

Pope Francis: I don’t know if I had success, no. But I am afraid of myself. Why am I afraid of myself? I feel always – I don’t know – weak in the sense of not having power and also power is a fleeting thing, here today, gone tomorrow. It’s important if you can do good with power. And Jesus defined power, the true power is to serve, to do service, to do the most humble services, and I must still make progress on this path of service because I feel that I don’t do everything I should do. That’s the sense I have of power.

Third, on women priests, that cannot be done. Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long reflection said so clearly. Not because women don’t have the capacity. Look, in the Church women are more important than men, because the church is a woman. It is “la” church, not “il” church. The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is more important than popes and bishops and priests. I must admit we are a bit late in an elaboration of the theology of women. We have to move ahead with that theology. Yes, that’s true.

Mathilde Imberty, Radio France Holy Father, you have become a star in the United States. Is it good for the Church if the Pope is a star?

Pope Francis: The Pope must… Do you know what the title was of the Pope that ought to be used? Servant of the servants of God. It’s a little different from the stars. Stars are beautiful to look at. I like to look at them in the summer when the sky is clear. But the Pope must be, must be the servant of the servants of God. Yes, in the media this is happening but there’s another truth. How many stars have we seen that go out and fall. It is a fleeting thing. On the other hand, being servant of the servants of God is something that doesn’t pass.

THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY 2016 – (VIS) “Communication and mercy: a fruitful encounter” is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for World Communications Day. The choice was clearly determined by the Celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and the Holy Father desired that World Communications Day would provide the appropriate occasion to reflect on the deep synergy between communication and mercy. World Communications Day, the only annual worldwide event called for by the Second Vatican Council, is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (in 2016, May 8th). The Holy Father’s message for World Communications Day is traditionally published on January 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.

CANTATE DOMINO: THE SISTINE CHAPEL AND MUSIC OF THE POPES – VIS/Vatican Radio)  For the first time ever, the Vatican has opened the doors of the iconic Sistine Chapel for a studio recording with the Sistine Chapel Choir – the world’s oldest choir. The new album, “Cantate Domino. The Sistine Chapel and the music of Popes,” captures the sounds of the extraordinary acoustics of the Sistine Chapel, with music performed by the Pope’s own choir.  The album was released on Deutsche Grammophon on September 25, and a presentation given Tuesday in the Holy See Press Office. Presenting the CD were Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, Prefect of the Papal Household; Msgr. Massimo Palombella, S.D.B., director of the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir; Mark Wilkinson, president of Deutsche Grammophon; and Mirko Gratton, director of the classical music section of Universal Italia. “The Pontifical Musical Choir, also known as the Sistine Chapel Choir, is among the oldest choral institutions in the world and has the unique characteristic of being the Pope’s choir,” explained Archbishop Gaenswein.

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR 2016 WORLD YOUTH DAY – (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ message for the 31st World Youth Day was released on Monday and focuses on the theme from the Beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’. (Mt 5:7). The next meeting of young people from across the globe will take place in the Polish city of Krakow in July 2016. In the message Pope Francis notes that the forthcoming World Youth Day takes place within the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. For that reason he says, it’s providential that the gathering will take place in the city associated with both Saint John Paul II and Saint Faustina Kowalska, the two great “apostles of mercy of our times.”

“COMMUNICATING THE FAMILY, A PRIVILEGED PLACE OF ENCOUNTER WITH THE GIFT OF LOVE” – BEING A CARDINAL IS A VOCATION, NOT A PRIZE, SAYS POPE FRANCIS – PHILIPPINE CONGRESS TO PASS RESOLUTION THANKING POPE FRANCIS

DUE TO TECHNICAL PROBLEMS ON FRIDAY (NOW RESOLVED), I WAS UNABLE TO POST THIS COLUMN AT “JOAN’S ROME” AT EWTN.COM BUT I DID POST IT TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420) SO ALWAYS CHECK THERE.

A FUTURE AMERICAN SAINT: Thursday afternoon, January 22 the Holy Father received in a private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he authorized the Congregation to promulgate 11 decrees – 1 for a miracle, 3 for martyrdom and 7 for heroic virtues, including Servant of God Aloysius Schwartz, American diocesan priest, founder of the Sisters of Mary of Banneux and the Brothers of Christ (1930-1992).

VATICAN INSIDER TO FEATURE SPECIAL ON THE CATACOMBS:  This week we again feature a “BEST OF” on Vatican Insider when I bring you on a visit to the catacombs. The technical issues with at least one of my three recorders have been solved, and things should be back to normal next week. In the meantime, enjoy your visit to “underground” Rome, to the burial places of the first Christians.

And I hope you enjoy the Pope’s Message for World Communications Day, released this morning (see below). It is wonderful and will not long to read at all!

Pope Francis has a Message for all of us: communications between individuals, especially in a family setting, was around long before radio, television, telephones, cell phones or tablets, Facebook or Twitter. He writes, “The great challenge facing us today is to learn once again how to talk to one another, not simply how to generate and consume information.”

He is basically urging us all to communicate face to face, parents as a couple, children with each other, everyone in a family setting, surrounded perhaps by several generations of family members. Francis says: “In the family, we learn to embrace and support one another, to discern the meaning of facial expressions and moments of silence, to laugh and cry together with people who did not choose one other yet are so important to each other. This greatly helps us to understand the meaning of communication as recognizing and creating closeness. When we lessen distances by growing closer and accepting one another, we experience gratitude and joy.”

The Pope doesn’t explicitly say that families should be together at dinner time, for example, to share each other’s daily adventures, trials and joys but you can sense it in between the lines.

“COMMUNICATING THE FAMILY, A PRIVILEGED PLACE OF ENCOUNTER WITH THE GIFT OF LOVE”

Every year, on the January 24 feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of Catholic journalists, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications offers a Mass for those who work in the Vatican’s media offices – the council itself, radio, CTV, the press office and L’Osservatore Romano –and those from the world’s media who report on the Vatican.

Archbishop Claudio Maria Cell, council president, was the main celebrant this morning of a concelebrated Mass at 9:30 in the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina on Via della Conciliazione, close to all Vatican offices. Later this morning, in the Holy See Press Office, he presented the Holy Father’s Message for the World Day of Social Communications on the theme “Communicating the  Family – a Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love.”

The papal Message is traditionally published on the feast of St. Francis de Sales and Communications Day is celebrated in most countries on the Sunday before Pentecost, thus, May 17, 2015.

“This year’s message,” says a communique from the council, “calls on the faithful to see families as “a resource rather than as a problem for society” and invites families to be examples of Christ’s love, kindness and fellowship.

“In a world where people often curse, use foul language, speak badly of others, sow discord and poison our human environment by gossip, the family can teach us to understand communication as a blessing,” the Pope writes.  “In situations apparently dominated by hatred and violence, where families are separated by stone walls or the no less impenetrable walls of prejudice and resentment, where there seem to be good reasons for saying “enough is enough”, it is only by blessing rather than cursing, by visiting rather than repelling, and by accepting rather than fighting, that we can break the spiral of evil, show that goodness is always possible, and educate our children to fellowship.”

“From this text,” explained the archbishop, “there emerges a positive overall message, given that the Pope affirms that the family continues to be a great resource and not merely a problem or an institution in crisis. As we can see, the Pope is not interested principally in the problem between the family and communication linked to new technologies. He instead focuses on the most profoundly true and human dimension of communication.”

The message affirms, he added, that the family “has the capacity to communicate itself and to communicate, by virtue of the bond that links its various members.” He noted that “a paragraph is dedicated to prayer, defined as a fundamental form of communication that finds in the family its truest environment of discovery and experience.”

“In this context,” said the council president, forgiveness is understood “as a dynamic of communication because, when contrition is expressed and accepted, it becomes possible to restore and rebuild the communication which broke down.” He also remarked that a long paragraph is devoted to the most modern media and their influence on communication in and among families, both as a help and a hindrance.

He noted that the text clearly restates what has already been underlined in the teachings of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. “But it is important to rediscover yet again that the parents are the first educators of their children, who are increasingly present in the digital sphere. The presence of parents does not have a primarily technological dimension – generally children know more than their parents in this field – but is important on account of the wisdom they contribute.”

“It is well-known that one of the great risks is that children or teenagers may isolate themselves in a ‘virtual world’, significantly reducing their necessary integration in real everyday life and in the interrelationships of friendship. This is not to say that the relationships of affection or friendship that develop in the context of the web are not real. It must also be remembered that the young – and the not so young – are called upon to give witness to Christ in the digital world too, in the social networks we all inhabit.”

Click here to read Pope Francis’ Message for World Commnications Day in English: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/communications/documents/papa-francesco_20150123_messaggio-comunicazioni-sociali.html

Click here for Spanish: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/es/messages/communications/documents/papa-francesco_20150123_messaggio-comunicazioni-sociali.html

BEING A CARDINAL IS A VOCATION, NOT A PRIZE, SAYS POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis has sent a letter to each of the 20 prelates who will be elevated to the College of Cardinals during the consistory on February 14th in the Vatican. In his letter, the Pope reminded the prelates that being a Cardinal is a vocation to serve and stressed the need to be humble.

“Staying humble, while serving is not easy,” he wrote, especially when people consider the cardinalate “as a prize, or the peak of one’s career,” a dignified position of power or of superior distinction.  The Pope urged them to strive every day to stay away from such considerations.  And when celebrating the elevation to your new vocation, he continued, do so with humility and ensure that these celebrations are not contaminated by the spirit of worldliness which can intoxicate more than drinking brandy on an empty stomach, and can separate one from Christ’s Cross. (Vatican Radio)

PHILIPPINE CONGRESS TO PASS RESOLUTION THANKING POPE FRANCIS

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives will immediately pass various resolutions filed by lawmakers thanking Pope Francis for inspiring and bringing hope to Filipinos during his historic five-day visit last week, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday.

Belmonte is among those who filed resolutions expressing the Filipinos’ gratitude to the pope, whose recent visit centered on the universal message of “mercy and compassion.”

The Speaker and other legislators filed House Resolution 1816, which stressed that Pope Francis “provided inspiration and encouragement to millions of Filipinos to make Jesus Christ the center of their lives.”

“Despite the harsh weather conditions brought about by (Tropical Storm) Amang, Pope Francis proceeded to the Province of Leyte to hold mass for 150 thousand pilgrims and survivors of Typhoon Yolanda, braving the strong winds and rains to personally bring his message of hope and renewal to our countrymen,” the proposed bill read.

To read rest of story, click here: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/01/24/1416140/house-pass-resolutions-gratitude-pope-francis