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Friday, October 24, 2014

Catholic News World : Friday October 24, 2014 - Share! #FF

 2014



Amazing Tap Dancing Priests in Video goes Viral - SHARE this must see #VV

A video of a pair of dancing American priests studying in Rome has gone viral.  Rev Rider warmed up the crowd with a lively tap-dance routine, and was pushed aside by Rev Gibson's fast-footed Irish dance. Then they were dancing together to impress the crowd. At the back of the room, journalist Joan Lewis recorded the event and later posted it on YouTube, where it has had more than 600,000 hits. The US priests were dancing at a seminary fundraiser  The Rev David Rider, 29, of New York, and the Rev John Gibson, 28, of Milwaukee, became famous when they were filmed in April during this fundraiser at the Pontifical North American College, a seminary up the hill from the Vatican. To those who call them disrespectful they answered, “We would just refer them to the Bible,” Rider said, “where the Lord tells us to live with joy.”

Pope Francis "The hope to which we have been called...." Homily #Vatican


Pope Francis speaks about unity in diversity at Mass Friday morning - OSS_ROM

(Vatican Radio) Every Christian is called to work for the unity of the Church, allowing ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit who creates unity in diversity, said Pope Francis at Mass Friday morning at Casa Santa Marta.
Pope Francis based his homily on the First Reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, in which the Apostle – a prisoner for the Lord -  urges the community to live in a manner worthy of the call they have received, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit. “Building the unity of the Church - said the Pope - is the work of the Church and of every Christian throughout history".
Pope Francis noted that when the Apostle Peter "speaks of the Church, he speaks of a temple made of living stones, that is us”.  The Pope warned that the opposite to this is "that other temple of pride, which was the Tower of Babel". The first temple "brings unity”, the second "is the symbol of disunity, lack of understanding, the diversity of languages​​".
"Building the unity of the Church, building the Church, this temple, this unity of the Church: this is the task of every Christian, every one of us. When constructing a temple or a building, the first thing ones does is find suitable land. Then one lays the cornerstone, the Bible says. And the cornerstone of the unity of the Church, or rather the cornerstone of the Church, is Jesus and the cornerstone of the unity of the Church is Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper: 'Father, that they may be one!'. And this is its strength!”.
Pope Francis continued that Jesus is "the rock on which we build unity in the Church", "without this stone, all else is impossible. There is no unity without Jesus Christ at the basis: He is our certainty".  The Pope then asked, who "builds this unity?": "It is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the only one capable of building the unity of the Church. And that is why Jesus sent him: to make the Church grow, to make it strong, to make it one". The Spirit builds "the unity of the Church" in the "diversity of nations, cultures, and people."
Again Pope Francis posed a question: How is "this temple built?". Speaking on this topic, the Apostle Peter said  "that we were living stones in this building". Saint Paul on the other hand  "advises us not to be stones, to be weak bricks”. The advice of the Apostle to the Gentiles in building this unity is “weak advice, according to human thought".
"Humility, gentleness, magnanimity: These are weak things, because the humble person appears good for nothing; gentleness, meekness appear useless; generosity, being open to all, having a big heart ... And then he says more: Bearing with one another through love.Bearing with one another through love, having what at heart? Preserving unity. The weaker we are with these virtues of humility, generosity, gentleness, meekness, the stronger we become as stones in this Temple".
Pope Francis continued this is "the same path as Jesus" who "became weak" to death on the Cross "and then became strong!".  We too, should do as much: "Pride, self-sufficiency are useless". When you construct a building, "the architect has to draw up plans. And what is the ground plan for the unity of the Church?".
"The hope to which we have been called: the hope of journeying towards the Lord, the hope of living in a living Church, made of living stones, with the power of the Holy Spirit. Only in the ground plan of hope can we move forward in the unity of the Church. We have been called to a great hope. Let's go there! But with the strength that Jesus prayer’ for unity gives us; with docility to the Holy Spirit, who is capable of making living stones from bricks; and with the hope of finding the Lord who has called us, to encounter Him in the fullness of time”.

(Emer McCarthy)

Today's Mass Readings : Friday October 24, 2014 #FF


Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 477


Reading 1EPH 4:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace;
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

Responsorial Psalm PS 24:1-2, 3-4AB, 5-6

R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Gospel LK 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.
You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way;
otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge,
and the judge hand you over to the constable,
and the constable throw you into prison.
I say to you, you will not be released
until you have paid the last penny.”

Pope Francis "All Christians of goodwill are called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty be it legal or illegal..."


Pope addresses International Association of Criminal Law - RV


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday called on all men and women of good will to fight for the abolishment of the death penalty in “all of its forms” and for the improvement of prison conditions.
The Pope was addressing a group of members of the International Association of Criminal Law whom he received in the Vatican.
In his discourse the Pope also addressed the need to combat the phenomena of human trafficking and of corruption.
And he stressed that the fact that the enforcement of legal penalties must always respect human dignity.
In a dense and impassioned discourse to the Jurists assembled in the Vatican for a private audience, Pope Francis said that the “life sentence” is really a “concealed death sentence”, and that is why – he explained – he had it annulled in the Vatican Penal Code.
Many of the off-the-cuff comments  during the Pope’s speech shone the light on how politics and media all too often act as triggers enflaming “violence and private and public acts of vengeance” that are always in search of a scape-goat.
Recalling the words of Saint John Paul II who condemned the death penalty as does the Catechism, Francis decried the practice and denounced  “so-called extrajudicial or extralegal executions” calling them “deliberate homicides” committed by public officials behind the screen of the Law:
“All Christians and people of goodwill are called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty be it legal or illegal, in all of its forms, but also for the improvement of prison conditions in the respect of the human dignity of those who have been deprived of freedom. I link this to the death sentence. In the Penal Code of the Vatican, the sanction of life sentence is no more. A life sentence is a death sentence which is concealed”.
And Pope Francis had words of harsh criticism for all forms of criminality which undermine human dignity, there are forms of his – he said - even within the criminal law system which too often does not respect that dignity when criminal law is applied.
“In the last decades” – the Pope said – “there has been a growing conviction that through public punishment it is possible to solve different and disparate social problems, as if for different diseases one could prescribe the same medicine.”  
He said this conviction has pushed the criminal law system beyond its sanctioning boundaries, and into the “realm of freedom and the rights of persons” without real effectiveness.
“There is the risk of losing sight of the proportionality of penalties that historically reflect the scale of values upheld by the State. The very conception of criminal law and the enforcement of sanctions as an ‘ultima ratio’ in the cases of serious offenses against individual and collective interests have weakened. As has the debate regarding the use of alternative penal sanctions to be used instead of imprisonment”.
Pope Francis speaks of remand or detention of a suspect as a “contemporary form of illicit hidden punishment” concealed by a “patina of legality”, as it enforces “an anticipation of punishment” upon a suspect who has not been convicted. From this – the Pope points out – derives the risk of multiplying the number of detainees still awaiting trial, who are thus convicted without benefiting from the protective rules of a trial. In some countries – he says – this happens in some 50% of all cases with the trickledown effect of terribly overcrowded detention centers:
“The deplorable conditions of detention that take place in different parts of the world are an authentic inhuman and degrading trait, often caused by deficiencies of criminal law, or by a lack of infrastructures and good planning. In many cases they are the result of an arbitrary and merciless exercise of power over persons who have been deprived of freedom.”
Pope Francis also speaks of what he calls “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments and sanctions,” and compares detention in maximum-security prisons to a “form of torture”. The isolation imposed in these places – he says – causes “mental and physical” suffering that result in an “increased tendency towards suicide”. Torture – the Pope points out – is used not only as a means to obtain “confession or information”:
“It is an authentic ‘surplus’ of pain that is added to the woes of detention. In this way torture is used not only in illegal centers of detention or in modern concentration camps, but also in prisons, in rehabilitation centers for minors, in psychiatric hospitals, in police stations and in other institutions for detention or punishment”.
And Pope Francis said children must be spared the harshness of imprisonment – as must, at least in a limited way – older people, sick people, pregnant women, disabled people as well as parents if they are the sole guardians of minors or persons with disabilities.
The Pope also highlighted one of the criminal phenomena he has always spoken out against vehemently: human trafficking which - he says – is the result of that “cycle of dire poverty” that traps “a billion people” and forces at least 45 million to flee from conflict:           
“Based on the fact that it is impossible to commit such a complex crime as is the trafficking of persons without the complicity, be it active or of omission of action of the State, it is evident that, when the efforts to prevent and combat this phenomenon are not sufficient, we find ourselves before a crime against humanity. This is even truer if those who are responsible for the protection of persons and the safeguard of their freedom become an accomplice of those who trade in human beings; in those cases the State is responsible before its citizens and before the international community”.
Pope Francis dedicates an ample part of his discourse to corruption. The corrupt person – according to the Pope – is a person who takes the “short-cuts of opportunism” that lead him to think of himself as a “winner” who insults and persecutes whoever contradicts him. “Corruption” – the Pope says “is a greater evil than sin”, and more than “be forgiven, must be cured”.
“The criminal sanction is selective. It is like a net that captures only the small fish leaving the big fish to swim free in the ocean. The forms of corruption that must be persecuted with greatest severity are those that cause grave social damage, both in economic and social questions – for example grave fraud against public administration or the dishonest use of administration”.
Concluding, Pope Francis exhorted the jurists to use the criteria of “cautiousness” in the enforcement of criminal sanctions. This – he affirmed – must be the principle that upholds criminal law:
“The respect for human dignity must operate not only to  limit the arbitrariness and the excesses of State officials, but as a criteria of orientation for the persecution and the repression of those behaviors that represent grave attacks against the dignity and the integrity of the human person”.

(Linda Bordoni)

, 2014


Saint October 24 : St. Anthony Mary Claret : Patron of Weavers, Savings, and Publishers



St. Anthony Mary Claret
CLARETIAN ARCHBISHOP AND FOUNDER
Feast: October 24
Information:
Feast Day:
October 24
Born:
December 23, 1807, Sallent
Died:
October 24, 1870, Fontfroide
Canonized:
May 7, 1950 by Pope Pius XII
Patron of:
Textile Merchants, Weavers, Savings (taught the poor the importance of savings), Catholic press, Claretians Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Anthony Mary Claret died in the Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide in France on this date in 1870. He was canonized in 1950 and listed in the Roman Calendar in 1960. Anthony was born at Salent in the Diocese of Vich in Catalonia, Spain, in the year in which Napoleon invaded Spain. He was trained for manual labor, since his father was a weaver, but in 1829 he entered the seminary at Vich. Ordained to the priesthood in 1835, he was assigned as pastor in his home parish. Later he went to Rome to work for the Propagation of the Faith. He also entered the novitiate of the Jesuits but had to leave because of ill health, so he returned to Spain and was assigned as pastor of a parish. His apostolate consisted of rural preaching, conferences for the clergy and publications (he wrote more than 150 books). Because of his successful apostolate he aroused the animosity of some of the clergy and as a result he left Catalonia for the Canary Islands (1848). After a year he returned to Catalonia and resumed his preaching apostolate.
In 1849 Anthony gathered together five priests who formed the basis of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (popularly known as Claretians). At the suggestion of the Queen of Spain, Isabella II, Anthony was named archbishop of Santiago, Cuba (1850). For the next seven years he made pastoral visitations, preached against the slavery of the Negroes, and regularized numerous marriages. As a result of his activity he was frequently threatened with death and on one occasion an attempt was actually made on his life. In 1857 he was recalled to Spain as confessor to the queen. In this way he was able to exert some influence in the naming of bishops, set up a center of ecclesiastical studies at the Escorial, and work towards the recognition of religious orders in Spain. In 1869 he was in Rome, preparing for the First Vatican Council. He followed Isabella II into exile and at the insistence of the Spanish ambassador, was placed under house arrest in the Cistercian monastery at FontFroide, where he died at the age of 63. His remains were ultimately returned to Vich.
SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/stanthonymaryclaret.asp

Latest News from #Vatican Information - #PopeFrancis appoints and speeches


23-10-2014 - Year XXIV - Num. 184 

Summary
- Audience with Prime Minister of Grenada: Catholic Churh's Crontribution in Responding to Challenges Facing the Country (Pictured - Shared from Radio Vaticana)
- Pope to Association of Penal Law: Corruption is Greater Evil than Sin
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
- Programme of Pope Francis' apostolic trip to Turkey
- The responsibility to protect and the rule of law
- Message of the Synod Assembly on the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation
Audience with Prime Minister of Grenada: Catholic Churh's Crontribution in Responding to Challenges Facing the Country
Vatican City, 23 October 2014 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received the Prime Minister of Grenada, Keith Mitchell, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
In the course of the cordial conversations, the parties focused on the good relations existing between the Holy See and Grenada, as well as the important contribution made by the Catholic Church in the educational, social, and charitable spheres, to meet the challenges of the country, especially with regard to youth. In this regard, the need for cooperation between all of the social services, in order to promote the common good and the development of the country, was affirmed.
Pope to Association of Penal Law: Corruption is Greater Evil than Sin
Vatican City, 23 October 2014 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received delegates from the International Association of Penal Law (AIDP), addressing them with a speech focusing on the issues in their subject area that have recourse to the Church in her mission of evangelization and the promotion of the human person.
The Pope began by recalling the need for legal and political methods that are not characterized by the mythological ?scapegoat? logic, that is, of an individual unjustly accused of the misfortunes that befall a community and then chosen to be sacrificed. It is also necessary to refute the belief that legal sanctions carry benefit, which requires the implementation of inclusive economic and social policies. He reiterated the primacy of the life and dignity of the human person, reaffirming the absolute condemnation of the death penalty, the use of which is rejected by Christians. In this context he also talked about the so-called extrajudicial executions, that is, the deliberated killing of individuals by some states or their agents that are presented as the unintended consequence of the reasonable, necessary, and proportionate use of force to implement the law. He emphasized that the death penalty is used in totalitarian regimes as ?an instrument of suppression of political dissent or of persecution of religious or cultural minorities?.
He then spoke of the conditions of prisoners, including prisoners who have not been convicted and those convicted without a trial, stating that pretrial detention, when used improperly, is another modern form of unlawful punishment that is hidden behind legality. He also referred to the deplorable prison condition in much of the world, sometimes due to lack of infrastructure while other instances are the result of ?the arbitrary exercise of ruthless power over detainees?. Pope Francis also spoke about torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment, stating that, in the world today, torture is used not only as a means to achieve a particular purpose, such as a confession or an accusation?practices that are characteristic of a doctrine of national security?but also adds to the evil of detention. Criminal code itself bears responsibility for having allowed, in certain cases, the legitimacy of torture under certain conditions, opening the way for further abuse.
The Pope did not forget the application of criminal sanctions against children and the elderly, condemning its use in both cases. He also recalled some forms of crime that seriously damage the dignity of the human person as well as the common good, including human trafficking, slavery?recognized as a crime against humanity as well as a war crime in both international law and under many nations? laws?the abject poverty in which more than a billion people live, and corruption. ?The scandalous accumulation of global wealth is possible because of the connivance of those with strong powers who are responsible for public affairs. Corruption is a process of death ? more evil than sin. An evil that, instead of being forgiven, must be cured.?
?Caution in the application of penal codes,? he concluded, ?must be the overarching principle of legal systems ? and respect for human dignity must not only act to limit the arbitrariness and excesses of government agents but as the guiding criterion for prosecuting and punishing behaviors that represent the most serious attacks on the dignity and integrity of the human person.?
Audiences
Vatican City, 23 October 2014 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Archbishop Luigi Ventura, apostolic nuncio to France,
- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples,
- Bishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 23 October 2014 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed Abbot Donato Ogliari, O.S.B., as abbot of the territorial abbey of Montecassino, Italy. He formerly served as abbot of the Santa Maria della Scala Monastery in Noci, Italy. The Holy Father has, at the same time, applied the Motu Proprio ?Ecclesia Catholica? to the Abbey of Montecassino with a subsequent reduction of its territory, providing that: the territory on which stand the Abbey Church and Monastery belongs to the new territorial configuration of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction ?Territorial Abbey of Montecassino?, effective immediately. The 53 parishes with their faithful, secular and religious clergy, religious communities, and semiarians pass to the pastoral care of the Diocese of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, which will now be named Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo.

Programme of Pope Francis' apostolic trip to Turkey
Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today confirmed that His Holiness Francis, accepting the invitation issued by the civil authorities, His Holiness Bartolomaios I and the bishops, will make an apostolic trip to Turkey from 28 to 30 November 2014, during which he will visit Ankara and Istanbul.
The Pope will leave on the morning of Friday 28 from Rome's Fiumicino Airport, and will arrive at Esenboga Airport, Ankara at approximately 1 pm. He will first visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, after which he will transfer to the presidential palace where he will be received by the president of the Republic and the authorities, to be followed by a meeting with the Prime Minister. He will subsequently visit the president of Religious Affairs in the Diyanet.
On the following day, Saturday 29, the Holy Father will travel by air to Istanbul where he will visit the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque, and the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, where he will celebrate Mass. Later, in the patriarchal Church of St. George, there will be an ecumenical prayer and a private meeting with His Holiness Bartholomaios I.
On Sunday 30 Pope Francis will celebrate Mass privately with the apostolic delegation. In the patriarchal Church of St. George a divine liturgy will take place, followed by an ecumenical blessing and the signing of the Joint Declaration. In the afternoon the Holy Father will return to Istanbul Airport to return to Rome, where he is expected to arrive, at Fiumicino Airport, at 6.40 p.m.
The responsibility to protect and the rule of law
Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – A state based on the principles of rule of law and justice was the central theme of the address given on 13 October at the United Nations in New York by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See permanent observer at the United Nations, during the 69th session of the General Assembly.
“While commitment to the rule of law would appear to be universal, there nonetheless remains persistent disagreement about the definition of 'the rule of law'. The Holy See Delegation has endorsed a definition of the rule of law, which is both rationally and morally grounded upon the substantial principles of justice, including the inalienable dignity and value of every human person prior to any law or social consensus; and, as a consequence of the recognition of this dignity, those elements of fundamental justice such as respect for the principle of legality (Nullum crimen sine lege), the presumption of innocence and the right to due process. Likewise, regarding relations among States, the rule of law means the paramount respect of human rights, equality of the rights of nations; and respect for international customary law, treaties (Pacta sunt servanda) and other sources of international law. This definition, with its reference point in the natural law, sidesteps self-referential definitional frameworks and anchors the orientation of the rule of law within the ultimate and essential goal of all law, namely to promote and guarantee the dignity of the human person and the common good.
“For this reason, in future debates of the rule of law my delegation would welcome increased attention to the human person and the society in which he or she lives, because, in addition to the police force, courts, judges, prosecutors and the rest of the legal infrastructure, the rule of law is unattainable without social trust, solidarity, civic responsibility, good governance and moral education. The family, religious communities and civil society play indispensable roles in creating a society that can promote public integrity and sustain the rule of law. As Pope Francis affirmed: 'When a society, whether local, national or global, is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programs or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquillity'. This is why the promotion of the rule of law needs to be indispensably supported and verified by prioritising the allocation of public resources to human integral development.
Archbishop Auza went on to observe that the UN Charter and the mandates contained within its purposes and principles are at the centre of the international framework governing rule of law. “In the exercise of these powers, it is appropriate to emphasise the commitment of States to fulfil their obligations to promote universal respect for, and the promotion and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. If the international rule of law is to reflect justice, frameworks to international protection of persons must be fairly and impartially applied by States to guarantee equal recourse to the protections available under the UN Charter. I refer here in particular to religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and other regions awaiting urgent measures to effect this protection, including through further legal elaboration of the responsibility to protect”.
He continued, “the 'responsibility to protect' is a recognition of the equality of all before the law, based on the innate dignity of every man and woman. The Holy See wishes to reaffirm that every State has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights and from the consequences of humanitarian crises. If States are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene with the juridical means provided in the UN Charter and in other international instruments. The action of the international institutions, provided that it respects the principles undergirding the international order, cannot be interpreted as an unwarranted imposition or a limitation of sovereignty”.
Finally, the nuncio reiterated that the Holy See hopes that the “alarming, escalating phenomenon of international terrorism, new in some of its expressions and utterly ruthless in its barbarity, be an occasion for a deeper and more urgent study on how to re-enforce the international juridical framework of a multilateral application of our common responsibility to protect people from all forms of unjust aggression”.

Message of the Synod Assembly on the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation
Vatican City, 18 October 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the Message of the Third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation” (5-19 October). The speakers were Cardinals Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, delegate president; Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and president of the Commission for the Message and Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India. The full text of the message is published below:
“We, Synod Fathers, gathered in Rome together with Pope Francis in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, greet all families of the different continents and in particular all who follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We admire and are grateful for the daily witness which you offer us and the world with your fidelity, faith, hope, and love.
Each of us, pastors of the Church, grew up in a family, and we come from a great variety of backgrounds and experiences. As priests and bishops we have lived alongside families who have spoken to us and shown us the saga of their joys and their difficulties.
The preparation for this synod assembly, beginning with the questionnaire sent to the Churches around the world, has given us the opportunity to listen to the experience of many families. Our dialogue during the Synod has been mutually enriching, helping us to look at the complex situations which face families today.
We offer you the words of Christ: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”. On his journeys along the roads of the Holy Land, Jesus would enter village houses. He continues to pass even today along the streets of our cities. In your homes there are light and shadow. Challenges often present themselves and at times even great trials. The darkness can grow deep to the point of becoming a dense shadow when evil and sin work into the heart of the family.
We recognise the great challenge to remain faithful in conjugal love. Enfeebled faith and indifference to true values, individualism, impoverishment of relationships, and stress that excludes reflection leave their mark on family life. There are often crises in marriage, often confronted in haste and without the courage to have patience and reflect, to make sacrifices and to forgive one another. Failures give rise to new relationships, new couples, new civil unions, and new marriages, creating family situations which are complex and problematic, where the Christian choice is not obvious.
We think also of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh.
We recall the difficulties caused by economic systems, by the “the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose” which weakens the dignity of people. We remember unemployed parents who are powerless to provide basic needs for their families, and youth who see before them days of empty expectation, who are prey to drugs and crime.
We think of so many poor families, of those who cling to boats in order to reach a shore of survival, of refugees wandering without hope in the desert, of those persecuted because of their faith and the human and spiritual values which they hold. These are stricken by the brutality of war and oppression. We remember the women who suffer violence and exploitation, victims of human trafficking, children abused by those who ought to have protected them and fostered their development, and the members of so many families who have been degraded and burdened with difficulties. “The culture of prosperity deadens us…. all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us”. We call on governments and international organizations to promote the rights of the family for the common good.
Christ wanted his Church to be a house with doors always open to welcome everyone. We warmly thank our pastors, lay faithful, and communities who accompany couples and families and care for their wounds.
***
There is also the evening light behind the windowpanes in the houses of the cities, in modest residences of suburbs and villages, and even in mere shacks, which shines out brightly, warming bodies and souls. This light—the light of a wedding story—shines from the encounter between spouses: it is a gift, a grace expressed, as the Book of Genesis says, when the two are “face to face” as equal and mutual helpers. The love of man and woman teaches us that each needs the other in order to be truly self. Each remains different from the other that opens self and is revealed in the reciprocal gift. It is this that the bride of the Song of Songs sings in her canticle: “My beloved is mine and I am his… I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”.
This authentic encounter begins with courtship, a time of waiting and preparation. It is realized in the sacrament where God sets his seal, his presence, and grace. This path also includes sexual relationship, tenderness, intimacy, and beauty capable of lasting longer than the vigour and freshness of youth. Such love, of its nature, strives to be forever to the point of laying down one’s life for the beloved. In this light conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common.
This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. It includes the capacity to offer life, affection, and values—an experience possible even for those who have not been able to bear children. Families who live this light-filled adventure become a sign for all, especially for young people.
This journey is sometimes a mountainous trek with hardships and falls. God is always there to accompany us. The family experiences his presence in affection and dialogue between husband and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers. They embrace him in family prayer and listening to the Word of God—a small, daily oasis of the spirit. They discover him every day as they educate their children in the faith and in the beauty of a life lived according to the Gospel, a life of holiness. Grandparents also share in this task with great affection and dedication. The family is thus an authentic domestic Church that expands to become the family of families which is the ecclesial community. Christian spouses are called to become teachers of faith and of love for young couples as well.
Another expression of fraternal communion is charity, giving, nearness to those who are last, marginalized, poor, lonely, sick, strangers, and families in crisis, aware of the Lord’s word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. It is a gift of goods, of fellowship, of love and mercy, and also a witness to the truth, to light, and to the meaning of life.
The high point which sums up all the threads of communion with God and neighbor is the Sunday Eucharist when the family and the whole Church sits at table with the Lord. He gives himself to all of us, pilgrims through history towards the goal of the final encounter when “Christ is all and in all”. In the first stage of our Synod itinerary, therefore, we have reflected on how to accompany those who have been divorced and remarried and on their participation in the sacraments.
We Synod Fathers ask you walk with us towards the next Synod. The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you. United to the Family of Nazareth, we raise to the Father of all our petition for the families of the world:
Father, grant to all families the presence of strong and wise spouses who may be the source of a free and united family.
Father, grant that parents may have a home in which to live in peace with their families.
Father, grant that children may be a sign of trust and hope and that young people may have the courage to forge life-long, faithful commitments.
Father, grant to all that they may be able to earn bread with their hands, that they may enjoy serenity of spirit and that they may keep aflame the torch of faith even in periods of darkness.
Father, grant that we may all see flourish a Church that is ever more faithful and credible, a just and humane city, a world that loves truth, justice and mercy”.

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