Saturday, October 11, 2014

Catholic News World : Saturday October 11, 2014 - Share!


Free Catholic Movie : The Good Pope : Drama of Pope John XXIII : Stars Bob Hoskins

This movie on the life of St. Pope John XXIII Stars Bob Hoskins. Angelo Roncalli, born in Sotto Il Monte in 1881, is known for his profound spirituality as well as his extraordinary goodness from the young years of his life. When he feels a need to serve God, Angelo goes to study theology in Bergamo, and in Apollinare School (Rome) and becomes a priest. During his studies, he gets to know his two dearest friends, Mattia and Nicola. Very soon, most people see marvelous talents in him, including his wide knowledge and a constant readiness for sacrifice. The Holy See makes him go further to bishop and cardinal, and the Holy Father sends him to various places as a representative of the Church. When Pius XII dies on October, the 9th, 1958, 77 year-old Angelo goes to Rome, to conclave to choose a new pope. However, this time, it is him who hears gentle words of Jesus "Tu es Petrus!" ("You are Peter!") and from October, the 28th leads the church as pope John XXIII. Anonymous

Saint October 11 : Saint John XXIII : Pope : Patron of Christian Unity

1958-1963 Release: When on October 20, 1958 the cardinals, assembled in conclave, elected Angelo Roncalli as pope many regarded him, because of his age and ambiguous reputation, as a transitional pope, little realizing that the pontificate of this man of 76 years would mark a turning point in history and initiate a new age for the Church. He took the name of John in honor of the precursor and the beloved disciple—but also because it was the name of a long line of popes whose pontificates had been short.
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the third of thirteen children, was born on November 25, 1881 at Sotto il Monte (Bergamo) of a family of sharecroppers. He attended elementary school in the town, was tutored by a priest of Carvico, and at the age of twelve entered the seminary at Bergamo. A scholarship from the Cerasoli Foundation (1901) enabled him to go on to the Apollinaris in Rome where he studied under (among others) Umberto Benigni, the Church historian. He interrupted his studies for service in the Italian Army but returned to the seminary, completed his work for a doctorate in theology, and was ordained in 1904. Continuing his studies in canon law he was appointed secretary to the new bishop of Bergamo, Giacomo Radini-Tedeschi. Angelo served this social-minded prelate for nine years, acquiring first-hand experience and a broad understanding of the problems of the working class. He also taught apologetics, church history, and patrology.
With the entry of Italy into World War I in 1915 he was recalled to military service as a chaplain. On leaving the service in 1918 he was appointed spiritual director of the seminary, but found time to open a hostel for students in Bergamo. It was at this time also that he began the research for a multi-volume work on the episcopal visitation of Bergamo by St. Charles Borromeo, the last volume of which was published after his elevation as pope.
In 1921 he was called to Rome to reorganize the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Nominated titular archbishop of Areopolis and apostolic visitator to Bulgaria (1925), he immediately concerned himself with the problems of the Eastern Churches. Transferred in 1934 to Turkey and Greece as apostolic delegate, he set up an office in Istanbul for locating prisoners of war. In 1944 he was appointed nuncio to Paris to assist in the Church's post-war efforts in France, and became the first permanent observer of the Holy See at UNESCO, addressing its sixth and seventh general assemblies in 1951 and 1952. In 1953 he became cardinal-patriarch of Venice, and expected to spend his last years there in pastoral work. He was correcting proofs of the synodal Acts of his first diocesan Synod (1958) when he was called to Rome to participate in the conclave that elected him pope.
In his first public address Pope John expressed his concern for reunion with separated Christians and for world peace. In his coronation address he asserted "vigorously and sincerely" that it was his intention to be a pastoral pope since "all other human gifts and accomplishments—learning, practical experience, diplomatic finesse—can broaden and enrich pastoral work but they cannot replace it." One of his first acts was to annul the regulation of Sixtus IV limiting the membership of the College of Cardinals to 70; within the next four years he enlarged it to 87 with the largest international representation in history. Less than three months after his election he announced that he would hold a diocesan synod for Rome, convoke an ecumenical council for the universal Church, and revise the Code of Canon Law. The synod, the first in the history of Rome, was held in 1960; Vatican Council II was convoked in 1962; and the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code was appointed in 1963.
His progressive encyclical, Mater et Magistra, was issued in 1961 to commemorate the anniversary of Leo XIII's Rerum novarumPacem in terris, advocating human freedom and dignity as the basis for world order and peace, came out in 1963. He elevated the Pontifical Commission for Cinema, Radio, and Television to curial status, approved a new code of rubrics for the Breviary and Missal, made notable advances in ecumenical relations by creating a new Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and by appointing the first representative to the Assembly of the World Council of Churches held in New Delhi (1961). In 1960 he consecrated fourteen bishops for Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The International Balzan Foundation awarded him its Peace Prize in 1962.
Since his death on June 3, 1963, much has been written and spoken about the warmth and holiness of the beloved Pope John. Perhaps the testimony of the world was best expressed by a newspaper drawing of the earth shrouded in mourning with the simple caption, "A Death in the Family."
 Official Prayer to St. John XXIII Dear Pope John, Your simplicity and meekness carried the scent of God and sparked in people’s hearts the desire for goodness. You spoke often of the beauty of the family gathered around the table to share bread and faith: pray for us that once again true families would live in our homes. With outstretched hands you sowed hope, and you taught us to listen for God’s footsteps as he prepares a new humanity: help us have a healthy optimism of defeating evil with good. You loved the world with its light and darkness, and you believed that peace is possible: help us be instruments of peace at home and in our communities. With paternal gentleness you gave all children a caress: you moved the world and reminded us that hands have been given to us not for striking, but for embracing and drying tears. Pray for us so that we do not limit ourselves to cursing the darkness but that we bring the light, bringing Jesus everywhere and always praying to Mary. Amen.

Breaking News Double Suicide in Yemen Kills 67 - Please Pray

Asia News report: Double suicide attack in Yemen, at least 67 dead and dozens injured 
A suicide bomber blew himself up during a protest organized by the Shiite Houthi rebels, killing 47 people (including four children). Also hit a military outpost in the eastern province of Hadramuwt, at least 20 soldiers killed. The newly-appointed prime minister steps down. Growing fears of sectarian violence. 

Sanaa (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 67 people were killed and dozens injured in two attacks occurred in Yemen, after weeks of riots and political instability with Shiite rebels which led to the resignation of the previous government. One of the two explosions targeted a Shiite Houthi protest in Sanaa, who have taken control of large parts of the capital. The explosion enveloped dozens of people, leaving mutilated corpses and human body parts in the streets; there are also four children among the victims.
The attacks aim to foment sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites, with the real risk of a civil war in the country. An eyewitness reported that a man wearing an explosive belt, approached a checkpoint set up by the Shiite group, "and blew himself up among civilians and security guards " in the area.
In a second attack, which occurred at an army checkpoint in the eastern province of Hadramuwt, at least 20 soldiers lost their lives and 15 were injured, even if the toll is still provisional. The attack took place in Mukalla port town on the Arabian Sea.

So far there have been no official claims for the attacks, even if suspicions point to the extremist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a local cell affiliated with the terror network founded by Osama bin Laden. For years the terrorists have been carrying out attacks and violence targeting security forces and government structures, but have recently also targeted the Shiite Houthi rebel group.

Analysts and international policy experts warn that Yemen is also at risk of a bloody war provoked by Islamic extremist movements, as is happening in Syria and Iraq.

Yesterday's attacks came in conjunction with a crucial moment in the political and institutional life of the country: the ongoing tug of war between the leaders of the Shiite Houthi movement and Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour has forced the newly-appointed Prime Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak to step down. The Houthi criticized the choice of Mubarak as a future prime minister of a national coalition government, claiming that he is Washington's pawn.  

Today's Mass Readings : Saturday October 11, 2014

Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 466

Reading 1GAL 3:22-29

Brothers and sisters:
Scripture confined all things under the power of sin,
that through faith in Jesus Christ
the promise might be given to those who believe.

Before faith came, we were held in custody under law,
confined for the faith that was to be revealed.
Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ,
that we might be justified by faith.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian.
For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ
have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free person,
there is not male and female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants,
heirs according to the promise.

Responsorial Psalm PS 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel LK 11:27-28

While Jesus was speaking,
a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
“Blessed is the womb that carried you
and the breasts at which you nursed.”
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it.”


Saint October 11 : Saint María Soledad Torres Acosta : Foundress and Mother of the Servants of Mary

Foundress and Mother of the Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick
(1826 – 1887)

Soledad Torres Acosta was a woman who was completely open to the action of the Holy Spirit. She knew how to see the hand of God in everything that happened around her. She let herself be seduced by His loving and irresistible call that invited her to follow Him. She welcomed Christ into her heart, and her life was transformed into a gift for others. In humility and with God as her sole support, she even dared to undertake a great work in the Church: The Institute of the Servants of Mary.
Saint María Soledad was born on December 2, 1826, in Madrid, Spain. She was the second child of Francisco Torres and Antonia Acosta. She was baptized two days later and was given the name Antonia Bibiana Manuela.
Her childhood and youth passed by in the simplicity of daily life like any other young girl of her time; however, her love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and for prayer already stood out in her. When she was 25 years old, she heard the Lord’s call and asked to be admitted into the new Institute of the Servants of Mary that Father Michael Martínez, the parish priest of the neighborhood of Chamberí, had set out to begin for the purpose of caring for the sick in their own homes. The foundation took place on August 15, 1851. Manuela, who from then on would be called Sister María Soledad, would be the seventh of the founding group.

This is how Mother Soledad began her long journey through inspirations and darkness as she placed herself at the service of the poorest of the poor–the sick- seeing in them Christ Himself. With the total gift of herself, she went about showering the most exquisite and diligent charity upon the sick and poor. With profound humility and her great capacity to love, she understood the richness that the poor and sick possessed: they were nothing less than Christ Himself, the Divine Patient. It was Him for whom she kept vigil at night. She would look at Him, talk to Him, love Him and cure His wounds and kiss them… and the encounter was transformed into trust, hope and salvation. In this way she collaborated in the building up of the Kingdom of God.
After five years of complete dedication to the care of the sick, she saw that it was necessary for her to accept the position of General Superior. When Father Michael departed for the missions, she took charge of the Congregation, trusting in Divine Providence, and became the Foundress and Mother of the Servants of Mary.
Day after day, Mother Soledad did everything possible to provide for her Daughters’ spiritual wellbeing; her entire person reflected the gratuitousness and goodness of God. Her meek and humble heart was empty of herself and open to all; there were no limits of any kind for she knew that she belonged exclusively to God, and she gave her life as a free gift without receiving anything in return.
Open and willing to carry out the divine will, she had a deep sense of God’s presence within her. She constantly lived in the presence of God in everything she did: her work, various circumstances, unexpected events, the most ordinary tasks. She discovered God in everything because her heart was immersed in Him.
She solved everything with the logic of love based on humility, charity and gratitude. Because she lived poverty to the extreme and because she was profoundly humble, she acquired the liberty of spirit to be equable and magnanimous toward all, making herself the smallest and least of all.
Her secret was simple: seek the will of God always and in everything: in her many hours of prayer, in her personal encounter with God’s providence, in her friendship with Christ in the Holy Spirit whose growing presence she perceived in her soul as it became more transparent and penetrating every day, impelling her to work in her preferred and beloved field: the sick.
Her life revolved around the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist. Her nourishment was the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, from whom she received the strength necessary to endure life’s hardships with patience and serenity and to guide the Congregation with faith and unlimited trust in God whom she recognized as the ultimate guiding hand of the Institute. From the Eucharist Mother Soledad received the grace to give herself without reserve to her work as can be seen in her Letter 89: “May the Lord grant us His holy peace and patience so that with these two shields, we may carry the holy cross that Our Lord in His mercy has destined for us.
Her goal was clear: to be transformed into another Christ. From the very beginning, a clear sign of this transformation was her love for all, especially the most abandoned of society: those with contagious diseases. “The poor are my brothers”, she would say. She was so generous in sharing the little she had that all who came to her were surprised by this small woman with such a great soul. By her presence or her smile or by giving away a piece of bread, she revealed that God dwelled within her and that God is Love.
Mother Soledad showed us that the most wonderful gift from God is to be able to be fully identified with Christ who was obedient unto death on the cross. She experienced the emptiness, the loneliness and the abandonment of many, but never did she lack trust in Him who can do all things. She knew that the Cross of Christ is the source of strength and joy and that there are crosses that renew the life of the Church. She would exclaim, “May I know how to suffer”.  “Give me light and grace to be able to suffer and endure more for You”  (Letter 75). For her Daughters she prayed for “the grace to follow Him unto Calvary and to die crucified for love of Him” (Letter 75).
Mother Soledad took upon herself the suffering of the sick, of all of her Daughters, of the Church and of the entire world. She completed in her own body what was lacking in the passion of Christ, and her love and union with the Crucified Christ reached its fullness when she no longer desired anything else for herself or for her Daughters other than to “love the cross of Christ and not desire anything else” (Letter 63). This is the logic of love.
Mother Soledad relied on an exceptional woman for support and assistance who was her Mother on her journey: Our Lady, Health of the Sick. She was her model who she called her Mother, her consolation and her joy. Like Mary, she also gave her unconditional yes to the will of God and allowed herself to be molded in the forge of divine love. She was a bearer of Christ as she cared for the sick and proclaimed the Good News by her words and actions. She anticipated the needs of others in a motherly spirit of service to all. Like Mary she was at the foot of the Cross as she stayed at the bedside of suffering in an attitude of salvific offering. She was able to read history in the light of faith and hoped against all hope.
I have placed my confidence in Mary”, she would often repeat as she placed the “little boat” of the Congregation in her hands so she could lead it safely home. Full of gratitude and abandoned into the hands of the Father, she left this earthly life on October 11, 1887, a nine o’clock in the morning. She died like a grain of wheat as she reached the fullness of love. She left the “tree” of the Congregation flourishing with 46 foundations in Spain and overseas.
Today we can say that Mother Soledad let herself be led by the Holy Spirit who emptied her of herself so as to fill her with God. Flooded with His love, she caught a glimpse of new horizons in the Church, and impelled by this same Spirit from whom she received the precious gift of the new charism, she enriched and renewed the Church with the new Institute according to the Gospel: “Go and cure the sick”.  She revealed to us by her life the new and unique language of God: love. “The sick are the image of the suffering Christ and it is Him that we serve.” Mother Soledad taught us how to discover Christ in the poorest of the poor: the sick. “You did it to me.” Through her life she left us these finishing touches of her spiritual disposition:
Our own spirituality: Contemplatives in action, abandoned to Divine Providence, collaborators with Christ and Mary in the salvation of mankind.
Specific charism: the diligent and gratuitous care of the sick, preferably in their own home.
Her message: May you have peace and union and keep the Rule of Institute.
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Breaking News Malala Yousafzai wins Nobel Peace Prize at age 17

AsiaNews Report: (Images added) For Pakistani Christians and Muslims, Nobel Prize to Malala helps fight for human rights in the country
Malala Yousafzai, 17, from Pakistan, Kailash Satyarthi, a child advocate from India, are this year's recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The Committee recognised their "struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education". For Paul Bhatti, they are a "symbol of hope and an example for everyone in the struggle against fundamentalism."

Oslo (AsiaNews) - Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani advocate for the education of girls and women, and her Indian counterpart Kailash Satyarthi, a children's rights activist, are the winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
At 17, Malala is the youngest winner in history and already last year was considered among the candidates.
Chaired by Thorbjoern Jagland, the Norwegian committee in Olso recognised the two for their "struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education."

In particular, the committee members celebrated the Pakistani teenager's commitment to the education of girls and women, for which she was seriously wounded by the Taliban in October 2012.
Satyarthi, active since the 1990s against child labour, promoted the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and implemented various forms of peaceful protest, "focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain."
This year's record number of 278 nominees included Pope Francis and Edward Snowden, a former employee of the US National Security Agency who blew the whistle on the agency. 
A leading child rights advocate, Kailash Satyarthi led the fight in the 1990s against child labour.  His association rescued at least 80,000 children from human trafficking and slavery.
Born in 1953 in the small town of Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, has a degree in electrical engineering with post-graduate studies in high-voltage engineering.
Married and father of two children, a boy and a girl, much of his motivation came from his experiences as a student, when he felt keenly the deprivation of less fortunate students. 
Malala Yousafzai, who won last year's Sakharov Prize, was the victim of a Taliban attack on 9 October 2012 in the Swat Valley, a mountainous area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a stronghold for Islamic extremists on the border with Afghanistan. She was shot on a school bus on her way home, after morning class.
The girl, who was saved thanks to an international campaign, had become famous in 2009 at the age of 11, when she began writing a blog in her native language hosted on the BBC in which she slammed the attacks by Pakistani Islamists against female students and schools for girls and women.
Speaking to AsiaNews, former minister and Catholic activist Paul Bhatti, leader of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), said that the prize awarded to Malala provides "great encouragement" not only to her but also to those who are fighting for rights in Pakistan.
She "had everything going for her to win and she deserves it," he explained. And now more than ever, she has become an "example and provides strength for those who live in the area."
She is a "symbol" for all those who are fighting "to give hope," he added. For those who "are oppressed", it is "nice to see that her efforts are appreciated all over the world."
For the Catholic political leader, Malala becomes "an example for our association because, as Christians, we wish to commit ourselves to fight violence and promote education."
"As I have often said in the past, violence and lack of education only generate more violence, ignorance and fanaticism," Bhatti said. "For this reason, it is essential for everyone to undergo educational experiences that can defeat fundamentalism".
Muslim activist Iftikhar Ahmed, coordinator of the South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK), praised Malala's courage against Talibanisation and extremism. The award is a source of "pride" for the country. "She is a female role model against religious fanaticism," he said.
Aila Gill agrees. "Today," the Christian youth leader said, "Malala taught the Taliban a lesson: that peaceful efforts, a good reputation, and nonviolence can help people prosper".
For Pakistanis, "this is a moment of great pride because she is a daughter of our land" who put her life at risk "for girls' education," said Fr Iftikhar Moon, from the Holy Rosary Parish Church in Warispura (Faisalabad). 
The northwestern border region is considered a Taliban stronghold. In some areas, Islamic Courts enforce Sharia to settle disputes, as well as rules that govern behaviour and morality.
Hundreds of schools, including Christian schools, have been closed in the Swat Valley alone, jeopardising the education of tens of thousands of students and the work of about 8,000 female teachers.
As AsiaNews pointed out in a special series of articles dedicated to education, educating the new generations is a path Pakistan must follow to ensure the nation's development and overcome poverty.
A group of Sinhalese Carmelite nuns are among the few who offered an educational programme for women, which they had to give up after a year and a half due to threats from Islamic fundamentalists.
(Shafique Khokhar contributed to this article)

Latest Vatican Information News - Synod Congregations Summary - #Synod14

10-10-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 175 

Eighth General Congregation: Christian education in difficult family situations
- Ninth General Congregation: listen to the laity
- Message for families affected by conflicts
- “Useless slaughter”: believers and the Holy See during the First World War
- Other Pontifical Acts
Eighth General Congregation: Christian education in difficult family situations
Vatican City, 10 October 2014 (VIS) – During the eighth general Congregation, held yesterday afternoon, the general debate continued to follow the agenda of the Instrumentum Laboris, focusing on the theme “The Church and the Family in the Challenge of Upbringing (Part III, Chapter 2). The Challenge of Upbringing in General / Christian Education in Difficult Family Situations”.
Firstly, the vocation of life as a basic element of the family was emphasised; this led to an invitation to the faithful to deepen their knowledge of Paul VI’s Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, thus better understanding the meaning of the use of natural methods of fertility control and the non-acceptance of contraception. Union and procreation, it was said, are not separate from the conjugal act. The condemnation of genetic manipulation and cryopreservation of embryos was therefore reiterated forcefully.
From various quarters there emerged the tendency of several states and organisations based in the Western world to present, especially in the context of Africa, various concepts (including abortion and homosexual unions) as “human rights”, linked to economic aid and strong pressure campaigns for the promotion of such concepts. In this respect, it was highlighted that the expression “rights to sexual and reproductive health” does not have a precise definition in international law and ends up encompassing mutually contradictory principles such as the condemnation of forced abortion and the promotion of safe abortion, or the protection of maternity and the promotion of contraception. Also without any binding value, the promotion of such “rights” represents a risk, as it may influence the interpretation of other norms, especially in combating discrimination against women.
The Assembly reiterated the importance of adequate preparation for marriage, as its celebration seems to be increasingly reduced to the social and legal status, rather than a religious and spiritual bond. The preparatory course, it was noted, is often perceived by couples as an imposition, a task to complete without conviction, and as a result it is too brief. Since marriage is a vocation for life, preparation for it should be long and detailed, as in the case of preparation for religious life. It was also shown that, among couples, there is a frequent lack of awareness of the sacramental value of the marriage bond, so much so that the celebration of the marriage rite, it was said, is not automatically the celebration of the marriage sacrament.
With regard to the streamlining of procedures for the process of verifying matrimonial nullity, it was recalled that a special study Commission for the reform of the canonical marriage nullification process was instituted by the Holy Father Francis on 20 September 2014, and the hope was expressed that it will enable a simpler procedure to be put into effect, which must however be single and uniform for all the Church. Furthermore, with regard to the double confirming sentences consequent to mandatory appeal, it was asked whether the possibility had been raised of leaving the decision of recourse to appeal to the discretion of the bishop. At the same time, the hope was expressed that there would be a greater presence of suitably prepared lay judges, women in particular.
The Assembly went on to insist on the importance of good preparation for priests in relation to the pastoral care of marriage and the family, and remarked that homilies can be used as a special and effective moment for proclaiming the Gospel of the family to the faithful. It was commented that there is a need for formation and information, as the spiritual holiness of the priest, his creativity and his direct relationship with families are particularly appreciated by the faithful.
There were further reflections on the relationship between migration and family, in which it was reiterated that the family unit is a fundamental right to be accorded to every migrant, and the importance of protection for the right to family unity through international migratory policies was emphasised. It was said that the family is an essential element for the integration of migrants in host countries.
During the hour dedicated to free discussion – between 6 and 7 p.m. – three themes emerged in particular: with regard to divorced and remarried persons, the need for a penitential path was highlighted, to be accompanied by reflection on the case of divorced persons who remain alone and suffer in silence, at the margins of social life. Secondly, mention was made of the need to protect the children of divorced couples from suffering the psychological affects of their parents’ divorce. In this respect, it was recalled that adequate pastoral care of children often causes their parents to draw closer to the Church.
Thirdly, the importance of the relationship between the family and the education of children was affirmed, with particular reference to parents’ right to choose the most suitable educational plan for their children, so that they may receive a quality education.
Finally, the Secretary General of the Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, announced that during the eight general Congregations, there had been a total of 180 interventions from the Synod Fathers, with the addition of 80 more during the hours of open debate.
Ninth General Congregation: listen to the laity
Vatican City, 10 October 2014 (VIS) – During the ninth general Congregation, which took place this morning, 15 interventions were heard (6 from couples and 9 from single Auditors), almost all laypersons engaged in the fields of family pastoral care, bioethics and human ecology. From various countries throughout the world and representing almost all the continents, the Auditors brought to the Assembly their living testimony of family apostolate lived in everyday life.
Firstly, mention was made of the difficulties experienced by families living in the Middle East, especially in Iraq: these numerous conflicts have serious repercussions on families, divided by the death of their members, forced to migrate in search of a safe place to live, deprived of a future for the young who are removed from schools or for the elderly who are abandoned to their own devices. The unity of the Christian family in the Middle East is profoundly disrupted, with consequences also for the social and national unity of the countries in the region. Faced with such dramatic situations, the Church truly represents a safe haven, a “family of families” that offers comfort and hope. It is also necessary to prepare married couples to be “mediators” of peace and reconciliation.
Another point highlighted by the Auditors was the need for the Church to listen more to laypeople in the search for solutions to the problems of families, especially in relation to the sphere of intimacy in the life of couples. For this reason it is important for there to be synergy between the academic world and the pastoral world, so as to form not “technicians” but rather pastoral workers who know and understand how to promote the themes of family and life through a solid Catholic overall anthropological vision.
Furthermore, the Auditors remarked on the need for greater dialogue between Church and State, also through the efforts of lay faithful who, without motivations of personal ambition, know how to promote the protection of the rights of the family and the defence of life, working for a State with a human face. The laity, it was remarked, must be active and competent in the public defence of the values of life and the family.
The interventions focused on the need to adequately and permanently prepare priests in relation to themes regarding the family, especially in relation to openness to life, so that they are able to explain and speak naturally and clearly about conjugal love. It was also noted that if natural family planning is explained in depth, highlighting its positive worth, it can strengthen the life of the couple. In this respect, it was reiterated that homilies, if well prepared, may ensure that the faithful participate more fully in the celebration of Mass.
A further starting point for reflection shed light on the importance of testimony: the young do not need theory, it was said, but they clearly understand the centrality of the family if it is demonstrated by families themselves, credible witnesses and subjects of evangelisation. For this, the Assembly reflected on the need for couples to be accompanied by adequate pastoral care after marriage as well as before.
The Auditors then gave voice to the suffering of those who lose a family member: widows and widowers, orphans, or parents who lose a child. For these people, the accompaniment of the Church is fundamental, through support groups and sharing, so that they do not become lost in the profound anguish of loss, and the fear of a “desert” of emotions, but remain firm in their faith.
The Synod Fathers went on to speak about the importance of “human ecology”, which helps to combat the negative affects of economic globalisation, which often proposes models contrary to Catholic doctrine. They expressed their firm condemnation of all forms of domestic violence, especially in relation to women, showing that this is often perpetrated by young people.
Finally, the need for communication within families was emphasised, as sharing between couples, participation of both parents in the education of children, and above all prayer within domestic walls, all contribute to strengthening the family unit.
Message for families affected by conflicts
Vatican City, 10 October 2014 (VIS) – The full text of the message of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for families who suffer as a result of conflicts is published below:
“Gathered around the Successor of the Apostle Peter, we the Synod Fathers of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, along with all participants, share the paternal concern of the Holy Father, expressing our profound closeness to all the families who suffer as a consequence of the many conflicts in progress.
“In particular, we raise to the Lord our prayers for Iraqi and Syrian families, forced on account of their profession of the Christian faith or their belonging to other ethnic or religious communities, to abandon everything and flee towards a future without any form of certainty. We join with the Holy Father Francis in emphasising that no-one may use the name of God to commit violence, and that to kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege. Offering thanks to International Organisations and Countries for their solidarity, we invite persons of good will to offer the necessary assistance and aid to the innocent victims of the current barbarism, and at the same time we implore the international community to act to re-establish peaceful co-existence in Iraq, in Syria, and in all the Middle East.
“Equally, our thoughts go to those families that are torn apart and suffering in other parts of the world, and who suffer persistent violence. We wish to assure them of our constant prayer that the Lord may convert hearts and bring peace and stability to those who are now in need.
“May the Holy Family of Nazareth, which suffered on the painful road of exile make every family a community of love and reconciliation a source of hope for the whole world”.
“Useless slaughter”: believers and the Holy See during the First World War
Vatican City, 10 October 2014 (VIS) – A press conference was held yesterday at 11 a.m. in the Holy Press Office to present the International Congress “Useless Slaughter: Catholics and the Holy See in the First World War”, organised by the Pontifical Council for Historical Sciences. The speakers were Fr. Bernard Ardura, O. Praem., president of the Pontifical Council for Historical Sciences and Professor Roberto Morozzo della Rocca of the “Roma Tre” University.
“The initiative of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences aims to bring together numerous specialists in the field, with the intention of offering a reinterpretation of the conflict not only seen but also experienced by believers, mostly Catholics but also Protestants and Orthodox – and more specifically for the Holy See that, at the time again without territory of its own, and therefore within the territory of Italy, involved in the conflict, sought as far as possible to safeguard its specific nature”.
The theme of the congress, “Useless Slaughter”, are two words that express the drama of the First World War. One hundred years after the outbreak of the first world war, the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, in collaboration with the Hungarian Academy in Rome and the Commission International d'Histoire et Etudes du Christianisme, have offered the opportunity to review the historiography with particular attention to the commitment of Catholics and the Holy See in the conflict.
Fr. Bernard Ardura explained that although the central theme of the meeting was Catholics and the Holy See in the First World War, the congress also includes interventions from various historians regarding States with predominantly Protestant or Orthodox citizens. It is hoped, he affirmed, that a second Congress will be held in 2018 on the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles which were, at least in part, at the origin of the Second World War and whose repercussions can still be felt at the dawn of the 21st century.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 10 October 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Jose Joao dos Santos Marcos of the clergy of Lisbon, Portugal, as coadjutor of the diocese of Beja (area 12,300, population 211,964, Catholics 175,946, priests 54, permanent deacons 10, religious 75), Portugal. The bishop-elect was born in Monte Perobolso, Portugal in 1949 and was ordained a priest in 1974. He studied at the Higher Institute of Theological Studies in Lisbon, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of the Church of “Sao Tiago” in Camarate and “Nossa Senhora da Encarnacao” in Apelacao. He is currently spiritual director of the Christ King major seminary (Olivais) of the patriarchate of Lisbon, spiritual director in the “Redemptoris Mater” seminary, Lisbon, member of the pastoral council of the patriarchate of Lisbon, and canon of the Cathedral Chapter of Lisbon.
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