Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Catholic News World : Wednesday November 19, 2014 - Share!


Latest News from Vatican Information Service and Pope Francis

19-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 204 

- General Audience: We are all called to be holy
- New appeal for the Holy Land: building peace is difficult, but life without peace is a torment
- Cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migration must focus on positive aspects
- Other Pontifical Acts
- The Pope receives in audience the President of Senegal: Church's commitment to peace and national reconciliation (pictured)
- International Conference on autism: three days to inspire hope
- The Holy See at the United Nations: civilians are the first victims of conventional weapons
- Fifty years on from the Council decree Unitatis Redintegratio
General Audience: We are all called to be holy
Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – As is usual on Wednesday morning, the Pope toured St. Peter's Square to greet the faithful and pilgrims awaiting him before the beginning of the General Audience. He dedicated today's catechesis to the universal vocation to sanctity, to provide an answer to the question, “In what does this universal vocation consist? And how can we fulfil it?”
“Firstly, we must take into account that sanctity is not something that we procure, that we obtain ourselves through our qualities and capacities. Sanctity is a gift, it is the gift that the Lord Jesus gives to us, when He takes us with Him and clothes us in Himself, making us like Him”, he said. “Sanctity is the most beautiful face of the Church: it is rediscovering oneself in communion with God, in the fullness of His life and His love. … It is not the prerogative of the few: sanctity is a gift that is offered to all, without exclusion, and which therefore constitutes the distinctive characteristic of every Christian”.
“To be holy”, he continued, “it is not necessary to be bishops, priests or religious. … We are all called to be holy! … It is by living with live and offering one's own Christian witness in our everyday occupations that we are called to become holy; and each person in the condition and in the state of life in which he finds himself”: consecrated persons, married couples, unmarried baptised persons, parents, grandparents, catechists, educators and volunteers. “Every state of life leads to sanctity, if lived in communion with the Lord and in the service of one's brethren”.
Pope Francis urged those present to examine their consciences, asking how they could respond to the Lord's call to sanctity. He emphasised that when the Lord calls us to be holy, he does not ask us to do something weighty or sad, but rather offers us an invitation to share in his joy. “If we understand it in this way, everything changes and acquires a new meaning, beautiful, starting from the little things of everyday life. … And each step towards sanctity will make us better people, free of selfishness and self-centredness, and open to our brothers and their needs”. He added, “we do not walk the path of sanctity alone, each for himself, but rather together, in that single body that is the Church, loved and sanctified by the Lord Jesus Christ”, and concluded by encouraging those present to continue on this path.
New appeal for the Holy Land: building peace is difficult, but life without peace is a torment
Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – “I follow with great concern the alarming increase in tension in Jerusalem and other areas of the Holy Land, with unacceptable episodes of violence that do not even spare places of worship”, said the Pope following today's catechesis. “I assure a special prayer for all the victims of this dramatic situation and for those who suffer its consequences. From the depths of my heart, I appeal to those parties involved to put an end to this spiral of hate and violence and to take courageous decisions for reconciliation and peace. Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a torment!”
 He went on to remark that on Friday 21 November, the liturgical memory of the Presentation of Mary Most Holy at the Temple, Pro Orantibus Day will be celebrated, dedicated to cloistered religious communities. “It offers a good opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, devote themselves to God in prayer and constructive silence, acknowledging the primacy due solely to Him. Let us thank the Lord for the witness of cloistered life and ensure that they do not lack our spiritual and material support in order to fulfil their important mission".
In his greetings in various languages, the Pope addressed the Polish pilgrims who yesterday celebrate the memory of Blessed Karolina Koszka, virgin and martyr, on the centenary of her death. “This young girl fulfilled her vocation to sanctity, dedicating herself to the service of those close to her through her purity of heart and fidelity to Christ unto death. May her example encourage all, especially the young, to seek ways to sanctity, even if this involves going against contemporary tendencies to seek an easy life, concentrating on selfish pleasure. I entrust the members of the “Pure Hearts Movement” to the protection of their Blessed patroness”.
Finally, the Holy Father greeted in Italian the young professionals, businesspeople and social entrepreneurs who are participating in the congress organised by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Pontifical Universities of Rome, to promote approaches and attitudes to overcome social and economic exclusion. “I hope that this initiative may contribute to favouring a new mentality in which money is not considered an idol to be served, but rather a means for pursuing the common good”, he concluded.
Cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migration must focus on positive aspects
Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – ““Cooperation and Development in the Pastoral Care of Migrations” is the theme of the 7th World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and taking place from 17 to 21 November. The meeting will be attended by more than three hundred people from 93 countries of all five continents, and will be structured in relation to three themes: the diaspora, migrants as partners, and the dignity of the migrant. In addition, during the conference eleven episcopal conferences will present their pastoral work with migrants and at the end of the meeting a final document will be drawn up, to serve as a guide for the next five years.
The Congress is so designed that each day is dedicated to a different topic within the wider context of the theme of this Event: “Cooperation and Development in the Pastoral Care of Migrations”. Our plan of action is structured in such a way so as to culminate, through the different conferences and further debates that elaborate on the key note addresses, in the personal exchange and the expression of concrete ideas and thoughts in the Working Groups of the afternoon. My dear friends, we are here not only to share our experiences and ideas, but to work together to elaborate recommendations and ideas that will be of assistance to each one of us in our pastoral care for the next few years.
The speakers in the inaugural session will be Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council, the Italian minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, and the director general of the International Organisation for Migration (OMI), William Lacy Swing. A text sent by Msgr. Antonio Camilleri, under secretary for Relations with States, will also be read.
Cardinal Veglio spoke on the challenges of the migratory phenomenon and the situations of emergency that require the attention of the international community, emphasising the risk that the destination countries receive migrants with hostility, distrust and prejudice. As a response to this problem he proposed two major lines of action: cooperation and development which, in the specific context of pastoral care, must accentuate the positive aspect of migratory phenomena.
The minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, acknowledged that migration constitutes a political and institutional priority, and affirmed that receiving and helping immigrants is a responsible decision that Europe must take “to demonstrate in practice that the protection of every human life is the first duty of a State that wishes to define itself as civilised and democratic”. The director of the International Organisation for Migration underlined the absolute priority of welcoming all immigrants and saving every human life, citing the example of the Italian “Mare Nostrum” project, and reiterated the need for more functional cooperation between the states of the European Union to better face salvage operations.
Finally, Msgr. Camilleri, in his discourse, referred to the Church's ongoing commitment to accompanying countries and peoples on their path, often troubled and full of the unpredictable aspects linked to dislocation, and underlined the urgency of combating phenomena such as criminality and violence linked to migration.
In his presentation of the Conference Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, secretary of the Pontifical Council, recalled that in the diaspora – “when migrants often leave behind their families and relatives in the hope of sending back remittances to better their economic and social status, and one day finding a way to help them migrate abroad as well” - there clearly emerges the theme of the family, whose care “requires not only cooperation between the country of origin and the country of destination, but also a strong cooperation between the Church of origin, and the Church which welcomes the migrant family”.
With reference to migrants as partners, he remarked that they contribute and cooperate substantially to the well-being and to the development not only of their country of origin, but of their country of adoption, and emphasised the need of improving public perception of migrants and immigration. He also spoke on the role of women migrants, whose movement in the past was closely linked to family reunification, whereas now they are “protagonists and leading players along with their male counterparts in the role that they undertake in today’s society”.
With regard to the final theme, the dignity of the migrant, the archbishop commented that it is a concept that derives from the acknowledgement that all persons are created in God’s own image and likeness and that religious, ethnic, social and cultural variables, citizenship or lack thereof, do not change this fact that gives any individual an inherent and immeasurable worth and dignity. The prelate concluded his presentation by noting the potential of young migrants in building social, economic, cultural and religious bridges of cooperation and understanding across societies and Church communities.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Rev. Fr. Hilario Gonzalez Garcia as bishop of Linares (area 33,453, population 407,000, Catholics 360,000, priests 42, religious 58), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a licentiate from the Pontifical University of Mexico and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Monterrey, including spiritual director, prefect of studies in philosophy and vice rector of the major seminary; chaplain in various female religious communities; and executive secretary of the Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Mexican Episcopal Conference. He is currently rector of the major seminary of Monterrey. He succeeds Bishop Ramon Calderon Batres, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Rene Bruelhart, director of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), as president of the same Authority.
18-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 203 

The Pope receives in audience the President of Senegal: Church's commitment to peace and national reconciliation
Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Macky Sall, president of the Republic of Senegal, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the secretary for Relations with States, His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
During the discussions, the cordial relations between the Holy See and Senegal were noted, and the important contribution offered by the Church in the sectors of education and healthcare was underlined, as well as her generous and greatly appreciated commitment to promoting peace and national reconciliation.
Finally, there was an exchange of views on various themes of international interest, with particular reference to the current situations of crisis in the Region.
International Conference on autism: three days to inspire hope
Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the 29th International Conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, on the theme “The person with autism spectrum disorders: animating hope”, which will take place in the Vatican from 20 to 22 November.
The speakers were Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care); Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu and Fr. Augusto Chendi, M.I., respectively secretary and under-secretary of the same dicastery; and Stefano Vicari, head of the Department of Child Neuropsychiatry at the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, Rome.
Archbishop Zimowski explained that the term “autism” was first used by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1911 to describe the introversion of schizophrenic patients. Subsequently, in 1943, his colleague Leo Kanner described the disorder for the first time, affirming that autistic children were born with a congenital incapacity to establish normal contact with other people. It is currently defined as a “neuro-behavioural disturbance (also known as Kanner's Syndrome) of a pervasive type”, of multifactorial origin. In general, autism spectrum disorders manifest themselves before the age of three, and are life-long. The most recent statistics confirm that around 1% of children worldwide are affected.
“The many difficulties, including those of an ethical, moral and spiritual nature, faced by those with autism spectrum disorders and their carers have led us to choose such an important, difficult and delicate theme for this conference”, the prelate explained. “It will be a special occasion for observing the advances that have been made in research and treatment, as well as legal and political-administrative aspects; three valuable days for listening and exchanging experiences, and learning from the world's most qualified specialists.”
The Conference will be attended by more than 650 people from 57 different countries, and will include an encounter with the Holy Father during the Wednesday general audience, as well as an exhibition of paintings by the Taiwanese autistic artist Leland Lee, a moment of prayer and testimonies from people affected by autism spectrum disorders, their families, and associations. Various famous Italian singers will offer a musical contribution.
The Holy See at the United Nations: civilians are the first victims of conventional weapons
Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in Geneva spoke at the annual meeting of Parties to the Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects (CCW), held on 13 November.
Speaking in English, the prelate presented three issues to be considered. First, he spoke on the work carried out on lethal autonomous weapons systems. He emphasised that, with regard to the automation and consequent risk of the dehumanisation of war, a global – “scientific, legal, cultural, economic, ethical, and humanitarian” – rather than solely military approach is indispensable. He added, “I would like to reaffirm our wish that the mandate regarding this topic be renewed taking into account the importance of preserving an official trace of the statements, documents, debates and discussions”.
Secondly, he considered the theme of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. “With growing urbanisation of the world population, the tendency of urban wars will increase. How to protect the civilian populations? What should we do to safeguard civil infrastructures, indispensable for the livelihood of large communities? … What is certain, from the observations and data presently available, is that civilian populations are the first victims of conflicts. In many cases, they have no protection: millions of refugees and displaced people, a majority of them civilian victims, a great number are women and children; there is total or partial destruction of numerous urban centres; total disorganisation of social, academic, economic and political life; the exacerbation of hatred and of feelings of revenge that makes the re-establishment of peace and national reconstruction more difficult, if not impossible. It seems to me that an essential question touches all States parties: Does the CCW have something to say and do in such a situation? For the credibility and the integrity of the Convention and for the respect of the numerous victims, I would like to suggest adding this question to the agenda of the CCW”.
Finally, he mentioned the use of armed drones. “We are witnessing a certain proliferation of this technology and a growing use of it in various conflicts. … The choice of indifference in relation to this question is counter-productive. The fact of not addressing problems at the right moment can have disastrous consequences and make them almost insoluble, as experience in other domains teaches us”. He concluded by emphasising that “there is still time for the CCW to become interested in drones before they become an additional source of greater destabilisation when the international community needs, more than ever, stability, cooperation and peace”.
Fifty years on from the Council decree Unitatis Redintegratio
Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – On 21 November 1964, after a long and laborious process, the Council Fathers approved the decree on ecumenism, “Unitatis Redintegratio” by 2,137 votes to 11. The document, which undoubtedly marked a qualitative leap in the relations between the Catholic Church and the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, continues to represent an indispensable point of reference for the Catholic Church in her commitment to ecumenism.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the decree with two events. On Thursday, 20 November, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, Vespers will be celebrated, open to all, and attended by the members and consultors of this Council and the representatives of the Churches and ecclesial communities present in Rome, to give thanks to God for the fruits already gathered along the path of ecumenism during these last fifty years, and to invoke His blessing for the road that still lies ahead.
On 21 November a meeting will take place in the Great Hall of the Pontifical Gregorian University, during which the Pastors and theologians of the Catholic Church and other Churches and ecclesial communities will reread the Council decree, each from his own point of view, discussing today's ecumenical challenges and those that await us in the future. The moderator of the event will be Professor Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of L'Osservatore Romano, and the speakers will be Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Bishop Irinej Bulovic of Backa, the Serb Orthodox Patriarch; Professor Timothy George of the Baptist World Alliance; Fr. William Henn, O.F.M. Cap., of the Pontifical Gregorian University; Teny Pirri Simonian of the Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholicosate of Cilicia; and Friederike Nussel of the Lutheran Church.
The meeting will conclude the Council's plenary session, which will take place from 18 to 21 November and will focus on the theme: “The aim of ecumenism: principles, opportunities and challenges, fifty years after 'Unitatis Redintegratio'”. Fifty years after its promulgation, the dicastery considers it useful to examine how the Council degree continues to inspire the ecumenical efforts of the Catholic Church in a changing landscape.

Wow Brooke Shields reveals her Mother was paid to Abort her...#ProLife - SHARE

Brooke Shields (born May 31, 1965) is an American actress, model. She made many films including The Blue Lagoon (1980), Endless Love (1981). In 1983, Shields abandoned her career to attend University, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in French literature. In the 1990s, Shields starred in the sitcom Suddenly Susan. Her new book js entitled "There Was a Little Girl.' Shields writes in her book that, when her mother became pregnant, her  grandfather told her mother that an out-of-wedlock birth could harm her father’s social standing. Her grandfather even gave her mother money for the abortion. However, instead of visiting an abortionist, her mother used the money to buy a coffee table. Shields explains that the table became a favorite of hers, and she used it to pull herself up as a toddler. She writes, “The table saved my life and helped me to stand.”
Brooke Christa Shields was born in New York City to Frank (1941-2003) and Teri (née Schmon; 1933-2012) Shields. Through her father's side, she has Italian, French, Irish, and English ancestry, and through her mother German, English, Scots-Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Shields was raised in the Roman Catholic faith. Frank married Teri, but they were divorced when Brooke was five months old. She has two stepbrothers and three half-sisters.For her confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church at age 10, she took the name "Camille".  Shields is married to television writer Chris Henchy and they have two daughters in New York. Please Pray for an end to Abortion...

Today's Mass Readings : Wednesday November 19, 2014

Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 499

Reading 1RV 4:1-11

I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven,
and I heard the trumpetlike voice
that had spoken to me before, saying,
“Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.”
At once I was caught up in spirit.
A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one
whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian.
Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald.
Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones
on which twenty-four elders sat,
dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads.
From the throne came flashes of lightning,
rumblings, and peals of thunder.
Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne,
which are the seven spirits of God.
In front of the throne was something that resembled
a sea of glass like crystal.

In the center and around the throne,
there were four living creatures
covered with eyes in front and in back.
The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf,
the third had a face like that of a man,
and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight.
The four living creatures, each of them with six wings,
were covered with eyes inside and out.
Day and night they do not stop exclaiming:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty,
who was, and who is, and who is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks
to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
the twenty-four elders fall down
before the one who sits on the throne
and worship him, who lives forever and ever.
They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming:

“Worthy are you, Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things;
because of your will they came to be and were created.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 150:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (1b) Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his sovereign majesty.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

Gospel LK 19:11-28

While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
“A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’
Then the second came and reported,
‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
‘You, take charge of five cities.’
Then the other servant came and said,
‘Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.’
He said to him,
‘With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’
And to those standing by he said,
‘Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.’
But they said to him,
‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’
He replied, ‘I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.’”

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

Brutal Attack at Synagogue in Jerusalem Kills 4 Rabbis by Palestinians - Please PRAY

Jerusalem: deadly attack at a synagogue. A Palestinian "suicide"
by Joshua Lapide
Four Jews died and eight were injured. The two attackers were killed by police. One is on the run. A Palestinian driver found dead on his bus. Police claim it was a suicide, but Palestinians believ he was murdered.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Four Israelis were killed and at least eight injured this morning in an attack on a synagogue in the western area of the city. The two attackers were killed by police; a third suspect has fled.
The attack took place at the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue, on Shimon Agassi Street. According to the police spokesman, two assailants entered the prayer hall with knives, axes and guns attacking the faithful. The police killed them and identified them as "Palestinians from East Jerusalem." Other sources say that the two only had knives and axes - no guns - and the police opened fire against them.
Today's violence stems from an increase in tension in the city, with attacks by Palestinians - which have killed at least six Israelis - and the killing of several Palestinians by unknown assailants or police. During the night between November 16 and 17, a Palestinian driver was found hanged on a bus. Police say it's a suicide, and that there are no traces of violence on the corpse. But a Palestinian doctor suspects that it is a murder, and photos of the victim, Joussef Rahmani, 32, have been posted online with signs of bruising on the body, denouncing the killing as "racist".
The new wave of violence broke out after the injuring of Yehuda Glick, an ultra-nationalist rabbi who wants access to Temple Mount for Jews. The site is the third holiest in the Muslim world after Mecca and Medina; for Jews the esplanade is the site of the ancient temple of Jerusalem that the ultranationalists want to win back. But the status quo states the esplanade belongs to the Islamic community and Jews are forbidden to go there to pray.

Adding to Muslims fears of their holy site being seized are new decisions to build or expand Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and in the Occupied Territories, with the arson attack on a mosque in the West Bank.

According to the statesman pacifist Uri Avneri, there is urgent need for dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians to prevent slippage of the Arab world toward fundamentalism

 The four killed were all rabbis: Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 58; Aryeh Kupinsky, 43; Moshe Twersky, 59; and Kalman Levine, 55.

#PopeFrancis "Always and everywhere you can become a saint, that is, by..." #Vatican

Pope Francis greets pilgrims at his general audience - AFP
19/11/2014 11:

(Vatican Radio) “Every state of life leads to holiness, always”, but only if we are open to the grace of God’s gift, said Pope Francis Wednesday, speaking of the universal call to holiness of all baptized at his general audience.
In his catechesis at the General Audience, the Pope we must remember that holiness is a gift from God - it is not something we can achieve on our own.
Holiness, he continued “is not the prerogative of only a few: holiness is a gift that is offered to all, without exception, so that it constitutes the distinctive character of every Christian.”
“We are all called to be saints,” he said. But holiness is not “granted only to those who have the opportunity to break away from the ordinary tasks, to devote themselves to prayer.” Rather, everyone is called to holiness in their own state of life. “Indeed,” he said, “it is by living with love and offering Christian witness in our daily tasks that we are called to become saints… Always and everywhere you can become a saint, that is, by being receptive to the grace that is working in us and leads us to holiness.”
Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s catechesis:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning.
A great gift of the Second Vatican Council was to have retrieved a vision of the Church founded on communion, and to have also embodied the principle of authority and hierarchy in this context. This has helped us to better understand that all Christians, as baptized, are equal in dignity before God and are united by vocation, which is to holiness (cf. Const. Lumen Gentium, 39-42). Now we ask: what does this universal call to holiness consist of? And how can we achieve it?
1. First, we must bear in mind that holiness is not something that we can procure for ourselves or obtain with our quality and our skills. Holiness is gifted to us by the Lord Jesus, when He takes us up with Him and clothes us in Himself, making us like Him. In the Letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul says that "Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her, to make her holy"(Eph 5.25 to 26). There, holiness truly is the most beautiful face of the Church, the most beautiful face: it is rediscovering ourselves in communion with God, in the fullness of His life and His love. It is understandable, then, that holiness is not the prerogative of only a few: holiness is a gift that is offered to all, without exception, so that it constitutes the distinctive character of every Christian.
2. All of this helps us to realize that the call to holiness is not just for bishops, priests or religious ... No. We are all called to become saints! So often, we are tempted to think that holiness is granted only to those who have the opportunity to break away from the ordinary tasks, to devote themselves to prayer. But it is not so! Some people think that holiness is closing your eyes and putting on a pious face... No! That is not holiness! Holiness is something greater, more profound that God gifts us. Indeed, it is by living with love and offering Christian witness in our daily tasks that we are called to become saints. And everyone in the particular condition and state of life in which they find themselves. Are you consecrated? Be holy living your gift and your ministry with joy. Are you married? Be holy loving and taking care of your husband or your wife, as Christ did with the Church. Are you a baptized person who is not married? Be holy performing your work with honesty and competence and giving time to the service of others. "But, father, I work in a factory ... I work as an accountant, always with the numbers, I cannot be a saint there..." - "Yes, you can! There, where you work you can become a saint. God gives you the grace to become a saint. God communicates with you." Always and everywhere you can become a saint, that is, by being receptive to the grace that is working in us and leads us to holiness. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by passionately teaching your children or grandchildren to know and follow Jesus. And this takes a lot of patience, to be a good parent, a good grandfather, a good mother, a good grandmother, it takes a lot of patience and this patience is the holiness exercising patience. Are you a catechist, educator or volunteer? Be holy by becoming a visible sign of God's love and His presence beside us. This is it: every state of life leads to holiness, always! At home, on the streets, at work, at church, in the moment and with the state of life that you have, a door is opened on the road to sainthood. Do not be discouraged to travel this road. God gives you the grace to do so. And this is all that the Lord asks, is that we are in communion with Him and serve others. If lived in communion with the Lord and in the service of others.
3. At this point, each of us can examine our conscience, we can do it now, everyone answering for himself, inside, in silence: So far how have we responded to God's call to holiness? But do I want to improve, to be a better Christian? This is the path to holiness. When the Lord calls us to be saints, he does not call us to something hard or sad... Not at all! It is an invitation to share His joy, to live and offer every moment of our lives with joy, at the same time making it a gift of love for the people around us. If we understand this, everything changes and takes on a new meaning, a beautiful meaning, to begin with the little everyday things. An example. A lady goes to the market to shop and meets another neighbor and starts talking and then comes the gossip and this lady says, "No, no, no I will not gossip about anyone." That's one step towards holiness, this helps you to become more holy. Then, at home, your son asks you to talk to him about his fantasies: "Oh, I'm so tired, I worked so hard today..." - "But sit down and listen to your son, he needs this." And you sit, you listen with patience... This is a step towards holiness. Then at end the day, we are all tired, but prayer... We must pray! That's one way to holiness. Then Sunday comes and you go to Mass and to take Communion, at times, a good confession that cleans us up a little. This is a step towards holiness. Then, Our Lady, so good, so beautiful, I take up the Rosary and pray. This is a step towards holiness. And so many steps towards holiness, little ones... Then I go down the street, I see a poor person, someone in need, I ask him, give him something, another step towards holiness. Small things are small steps toward holiness. And every step towards holiness will make us better people, free from selfishness and being closed in on ourselves, and open us up to our brothers and sisters and their needs.
Dear friends, in the First Letter of Saint Peter we hear this exhortation: "As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, (4.10 to 11). Here is the call to holiness! Accept it with joy, and let us support one another, because we do not travel the path to holiness by ourselves, no, each on their own, but together, that one body which is the Church, loved and made holy by the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us go forward with courage, on this path towards holiness. Thank you.
After the catechesis Pope Francis made the following appeal:
Friday, November 21, on the liturgical memorial of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, we celebrate the Pro Orantibus, dedicated to cloistered religious communities. It is a good opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves to God in prayer and silent work, recognizing the primacy that only He deserves. We thank the Lord for the testimony of cloistered life. May they never lack our spiritual and material support to carry out this important mission.
And in his greetings to Italian-speaking pilgrims, the Pope appealed for prayers for the victims of flooding in northern Italy:
We remember, too, the victims of the recent flooding in Liguria and in the north of Italy: Let us pray for them, and for the families, and let us be in solidarity with those who have suffered damage.

(Emer McCarthy)

Pope Francis "When conversion touches pockets, it's a..."

Pope Francis preaches at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
18/11/2014 12:

(Vatican Radio) In the last weeks of the liturgical year the Church calls us to think very, very seriously about our Christian life. In Scripture, Jesus warns us against being corrupt, comfortable Christians of appearance and he calls us to conversion.Conversion is a grace, "it is a visit from God" said Pope Francis at Tuesday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. The Pope based his reflections on the Readings of the Day taken from Revelation Chapter 3 and the Gospel according to St. Luke on the encounter  Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector. 
In the first reading, he noted, the Lord asks Christians in Laodicea to convert because they have become "lukewarm". They live a "comfortable spirituality". They think: "I do what I can, but I am at peace and do not want to be disturbed with strange things”. Pope Francis noted that people who “live well think nothing is missing: I go to Mass on Sundays, I pray a few times, I feel good, I am in God's grace, I'm rich" and "I do not need anything, I'm fine." This "state of mind - he warned - is a state of sin, feeling spiritually comfortable is a state of sin". The Lord has harsh words for people like this, he says: "Because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth”. Despite this, the Lord gives them some advice, he tells them to "dress themselves" because " comfortable Christians are naked".
Then, he added, "there is a second call" to "those who live by appearances, Christians of appearances." These believe they are alive but they are dead. And the Lord asks them to be vigilant. "Appearances - the Pope said - are these Christians shroud: they are dead." And the Lord "calls them to conversion".
"Am I one of these Christians of appearances? Am I alive inside, do I have a spiritual life? Do I hear the Holy Spirit, do I listen to the Holy Spirit, do I  move forward, or ...? But, if everything looks good, I have nothing to reproach myself about: I have a good family, people do not gossip about me, I have everything I need, I married in church ...I am 'in the grace of God', I am alright. Appearances! Christians of appearance ... they are dead! Instead [we must] seek something alive within ourselves, and with memory and vigilance, reinvigorate this so we can move forward. Convert: from appearances to reality. From being neither hot nor cold to fervor".
The third call to conversion is with Zacchaeus, "the chief tax collector, and rich." "He is corrupt - the Pope said – he was working for foreigners, for the Romans, he betrayed his homeland": 
"He was just like many leaders we know: corrupt. Those who, instead of serving the people, exploit the people to serve themselves. There are some like this, in the world. And people did not want him. Yes, he wasn’t lukewarm; He was not dead. He was in a state of putrefaction. He was corrupt. But he felt something inside: this healer, this prophet who people say speaks so well, I would like to see him, out of curiosity. The Holy Spirit is clever, eh! He sowed the seed of curiosity, and so in order to seem him this man even does something a little 'ridiculous. Think of an important leader, who is also corrupt, a leader of leaders – he was the chief - climb a tree to watch a procession: Just think of it. How ridiculous!”.
Zacchaeus, he said, "had no shame." He wanted to see him and " the Holy Spirit was working in him". Then "the Word of God came into the heart and with the Word, the joy." "Those of comfort and those of appearance – he said - had forgotten what joy was; this corrupt man immediately gets it", "his heart changes, he converts". So Zacchaeus promises to give back four times what he has stolen:
"When conversion touches pockets, it's a certainty. Christians in heart? Yes, everyone is. Christians by blood? All of us. However, Christians with pockets, very few.  But, conversion ... and here, it arrived straight away: the authentic word. He converted. But faced with this word, the words of the others, those who did not want conversion, who did not want to convert: 'Seeing this, they grumbled: 'He has gone to the house of a sinner!': He has dirtied himself, he has lost his purity. He must purify himself because he entered the house of a sinner".
Pope Francis reiterated that these are "the three calls to conversion" that Jesus himself makes to "the lukewarm, the comfortable, to those of appearance, to those who think they are rich but are poor, who have nothing, who are dead”.  The Word of God, "is able to change everything", but "we don’t always have the courage to believe in the Word of God, to receive that Word that heals us within”. In the last weeks of the Liturgical Year, the Church wants us all to "think very, very seriously about our conversion, so that we can move forward on the path of our Christian life". It tells us to "remember the Word of God, appeals to our memory, to custody it, to be vigilant, and also to obey the Word of God, so that we can begin a new life, converted".

(Emer McCarthy)

Saint November 19 : St. Mechtilde : Benedictine

St. Mechtilde
Feast: November 19
Feast Day:
November 19
1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony
19 November, 1298

Benedictine; born in 1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony; died in the monastery of Helfta, 19 November, 1298. She belonged to one of the noblest and most powerful Thuringian families, while here sister was the saintly and illustrious Abbess Gertrude von Hackeborn. Some writers have considered that Mechtilde von Hackeborn and Mechtilde von Wippra were two distinct persons, but, as the Barons of Hackeborn were also Lords of Wippra, it was customary for members of that family to take their name indifferently from either, or both of these estates. So fragile was she at birth, that the attendants, fearing she might die unbaptized, hurried her off to the priest who was just then preparing to say Mass. He was a man of great sanctity, and after baptizing the child, uttered these prophetic words: "What do you fear? This child most certainly will not die, but she will become a saintly religious in whom God will work many wonders, and she will end her days in a good old age." When she was seven years old, having been taken by her mother on a visit to her elder sister Gertrude, then a nun in the monastery of Rodardsdorf, she became so enamoured of the cloister that her pious parents yielded to her entreaties and, acknowledging the workings of grace, allowed her to enter the alumnate. Here, being highly gifted in mind as well as in body, she made remarkable progress in virtue and learning.
Ten years later (1258) she followed her sister, who, now abbess, had transferred the monastery to an estate at Helfta given her by her brothers Louis and Albert. As a nun, Mechtilde was soon distinguished for her humility, her fervour, and that extreme amiability which had characterized her from childhood and which, like piety, seemed hereditary in her race. While still very young, she became a valuable helpmate to Abbess Gertrude, who entrusted to her direction the alumnate and the choir. Mechtilde was fully equipped for her task when, in 1261, God committed to her prudent care a child of five who was destined to shed lustre upon the monastery of Helfta. This was that Gertrude who in later generations became known as St. Gertrude the Great. Gifted with a beautiful voice, Mechtilde also possessed a special talent for rendering the solemn and sacred music over which she presided as domna cantrix. All her life she held this office and trained the choir with indefatigable zeal. Indeed, Divine praise was the keynote of her life as it is of her book; in this she never tired, despite her continual and severe physical sufferings, so that in Hisrevelations Christ was wont to call her His "nightingale". Richly endowed, naturally and supernaturally, ever gracious, beloved of all who came within the radius of her saintly and charming personality, there is little wonder that this cloistered virgin should strive to keep hidden her wondrous life. Souls thirsting for consolation or groping for light sought her advice; learned Dominicans consulted her on spiritual matters. At the beginning of her own mystic life it was from St. Mechtilde that St. Gertrude the Great learnt that the marvellous gifts lavished upon her were from God.
Only in her fiftieth year did St. Mechtilde learn that the two nuns in whom she had especially confided had noted down the favours granted her, and, moreover, that St. Gertrude had nearly finished a book on the subject. Much troubled at this, she, as usual, first had recourse to prayer. She had a vision of Christ holding in His hand the book of her revelations, and saying: "All this has been committed to writing by my will and inspiration; and, therefore you have no cause to be troubled about it." He also told her that, as He had been so generous towards her, she must make Him a like return, and that the diffusion of therevelations would cause many to increase in His love; moreover, He wished this book to be called "The Book of Special Grace", because it would prove such to many. When the saint understood that the book would tend to God's glory, she ceased to be troubled, and even corrected the manuscript herself. Immediately after her death it was made public, and copies were rapidly multiplied, owing chiefly to the widespread influence of the Friars Preachers. Boccaccio tells how, a few years after the death of Mechtilde, the book of her revelations was brought to Florence and popularized under the title of "La Laude di donna Matelda". It is related that the Florentines were accustomed to repeat daily before their sacred images the praises learned from St. Mechtilde's book. St. Gertrude, to whose devotedness we owe the "Liber Specialis Gratiae" exclaims: "Never has there arisen one like to her in our monastery; nor, alas! I fear, will there ever arise another such!" -- little dreaming that her own name would be inseparably linked with that of Mechtilde. With that of St. Gertrude, the body of St. Mechtilde most probably still reposes at Old Helfta thought the exact spot is unknown. Her feast is kept 26 or 27 February in different congregations and monasteries of her order, by special permission of the Holy See.There is another honour, inferior certainly to that of sanctity, yet great in itself and worthy of mention here: the homage of a transcendent genius was to be laid at the feet of St. Mechtilde. Critics have long been perplexed as to one of the characters introduced by Dante in his "Purgatorio" under the name of Matelda. After ascending seven terraces of a mountain, on each of which the process of purification is carried on, Dante, in Canto xxvii, hears a voice singing: "Venite, benedicti patris mei"; then later, in Canto xxviii, there appears to him on the opposite bank of the mysterious stream a lady, solitary, beautiful, and gracious. To her Dante addresses himself; she it is who initiates him into secrets, which it is not given to Virgil to penetrate, and it is to her that Beatrice refers Dante in the words: "Entreat Matilda that she teach thee this." Most commentators have identified Matilda with the warrior-Countess of Tuscany, the spiritual daughter and dauntless champion of St. Gregory VII, but all agree that beyond the name the two have little or nothing in common. She is no Amazon who, at Dante's prayer that she may draw nearer to let him understand her song, turns towards him "not otherwise than a virgin that droppeth her modest eyes". In more places than one the revelations granted to the mystics of Helfta seem in turn to have become the inspirations of the Florentine poet. All writers on Dante recognize his indebtedness to St. Augustine, the Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Bernard, and Richard of St. Victor. These are precisely the writers whose doctrines had been most assimilated by the mystics of Helfta, and thus they would the more appeal to the sympathies of the poet. The city of Florence was among the first to welcome St. Mechtilde's book. Now Dante, like all true poets, was a child of his age, and could not have been a stranger to a book which was so popular among his fellow-citizens. The "Purgatorio" was finished between 1314 and 1318, or 1319 --just about the time when St. Mechtilde's book was popular. This interpretation is supported by the fact that St. Mechtilde in her "Book of Special Grace" (pt. I, c. xiii) describes the place of purification under the same figure of a seven-terraced mountain. The coincidence of the simile and of the name, Matelda, can scarcely be accidental. For another among many points of resemblance between the two writers compare "Purgatorio", Canto xxxi, where Dante is drawn by Matelda through the mysterious stream with pt. II, c. ii. of the "Liber Specialis Gratiae". The serene atmosphere which seems to cling about the gracious and beautiful songstress, her virgin modesty and simple dignity, all seem to point to the recluse of Helfta rather than to the stern heroine of Canossa, whose hand was thrice bestowed in marriage. Besides, in politics Dante, as an ardent Ghibelline, supported the imperial pretensions and he would have been little inclined to sing the praises of the Tuscan Countess. The conclusion may therefore be hazarded that this "Donna Matelda" of the "Purgatorio" personifies St. Mechtilde as representing mystic theology.

Latest from #Vatican Information Service News and #PopeFrancis

17-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 202 

- International interreligious colloquium on complementarity, foundation of marriage and the family
- To the bishops of Zambia: evangelise cultures to inculturate the Gospel
- Angelus: Jesus does not ask us to conserve talents in a safe
- Immigrants and citizens: do not yield to the temptation of confrontation
- Francis receives Catholic doctors: no life is qualitatively more significant than another
- The Holy See at the United Nations: defending the civil population from remnants of war
- Cardinal Gracias, Pope's special envoy at the 500th anniversary of the evangelisation of Myanmar
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
International interreligious colloquium on complementarity, foundation of marriage and the family
Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) – “Complementarity is a valuable word, with multiple meanings. It may refer to different situations in which one element completes another or compensates for a lack. However, complementarity is much more than this”, said the Pope this morning to the participants in the international interreligious colloquium on complementarity between man and woman, organised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in collaboration with the Pontifical Councils for the Family, for Interreligious Dialogue, and for Promoting Christian Unity.
He continued, “This complementarity is the foundation of marriage and the family, which is the first school where we learn to appreciate our gifts and those of others, and where we begin to learn the art of living together. For most of us, the family constitutes the principal environment in which we begin to 'breathe' values and ideals, as well as to realise our potential for virtue and charity. At the same time, as we know, families may be the locus of tensions: between selfishness and altruism, reason and passion, between immediate desires and long-term aims.
The Pontiff spoke about the crisis that currently affects marriage and the family, and recalled that in the throwaway culture in which we live, increasing numbers of people reject the public commitment of marriage. “This revolution in habits and morality has often flown the flag of freedom, but in reality it has led to spiritual and material devastation for countless human beings, especially the most vulnerable. Evidence is mounting that the decline of the culture of marriage is associated with an increase in poverty and a series of other social ills that disproportionately affect women, children and the elderly”. Similarly, he explained that the crisis in the family has given rise to a crisis in human ecology, “as social environments, like natural environments, need to be protected”, and he emphasised the need to promote a “new human ecology”.
It is important, he added, to promote the fundamental pillars that support a nation: its immaterial goods. “The family remains the foundation of coexistence and the guarantee against social fracture. Children have the right to grow up in a family, with a father and a mother, able to create an environment suitable for their development and their emotional maturation. … The young represent the future: it is important that they are not left to be swept up by this damaging mentality of the temporary, and that they are revolutionary for their courage to seek a strong and lasting love”.
The Holy Father concluded by expressing his hope that this colloquium may be “a source of inspiration for all those who seek to support and strengthen the union between man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental and beautiful asset for people, families, communities and society”, and confirmed his intention to attend the next World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A., in September 2015.
To the bishops of Zambia: evangelise cultures to inculturate the Gospel
Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) – The fruits of the labour of missionaries, attention to the family, guidance of the young, care for AIDS sufferers and the need to collaborate with political leaders for the common good are the central points of the written discourse that Pope Francis handed to the bishops of the Zambia Episcopal Conference whom he received in audience this morning at the end of their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit.
The Pope recalls the “rich deposit of faith” brought to Zambia by missionary religious, remarking that “despite the sometimes painful meeting of ancient ways with the new hope that Christ the Lord brings to all cultures, the word of faith took deep root”. The “plentiful spiritual harvest is evident in the many Catholic-run clinics, hospitals and schools, and parishes throughout Zambia, a wide diversity of lay ministries, and substantial numbers of vocations to the priesthood in a society that has been transformed by Christian values.
The great challenges that pastors face in this moment relate in particular to the family, since, as the prelates affirmed in their meeting with the Pontiff, “many, especially the poor in their struggle for survival, are led astray by empty promises in false teachings that seem to offer quick relief in times of desperation”. Therefore, Francis urges the bishops, alongside their priests, to form solid Christian families through catechesis, who “will know, understand and love the truths of the faith more deeply”, and “affirm Catholic couples in their desire for fidelity in their conjugal life and in their yearning to provide a stable spiritual home for their children”. He also urged them to be close to the young “as they seek to establish and articulate their identity in a disorienting age”. He adds, “Help them to find their purpose in the challenge and joy of co-creation with God that is the vocation to married life … or in the vocations to the priesthood or religious life, which the Church has been given for the salvation of souls”.
“In a special way, invite those who have grown lukewarm and feel lost to return to the full practice of the faith. As pastors of the flock, do not forget to seek out the weakest members of Zambian society, among whom are the materially poor and those afflicted with AIDS; for the great majority of the poor have a special openness to the faith; they need God and we must not fail to offer them His friendship, His blessing, His word, the celebration of the Sacraments and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith”.
“Never tire of being kind and firm fathers to your priests, helping them resist materialism and the standards of the world, while recognising their just needs. Continue also to promote the treasure of religious life in your dioceses. … In this challenging time after the death of President Sata, I invite you to continue working with your political leaders for the common good, deepening your prophetic witness in defence of the poor in order to uplift the lives of the weak”, concludes Francis, reminding the prelates that “the Church’s mission to evangelise never ends: 'it is imperative to evangelise cultures in order to inculturate the Gospel... Each culture and social group needs purification and growth'”.
Angelus: Jesus does not ask us to conserve talents in a safe
Vatican City, 16 November 2014 (VIS) – At midday, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father commented on this Sunday's Gospel reading, the parable of the talents in which a man, before departing on a trip, entrusts to three servants his wealth in talents, coins of great value, asking that they make the fortune fruitful. The first two servants doubled the wealth, but the third, for fear of losing his portion, hid it in a hole. Upon his return, the master asks for the accounts and, while he rewards the first two, punishes the third.
Francis explains that the master in the parable is Jesus, we are the servants, and the talents are the patrimony that the Lord entrusts to us. “The patrimony of His Word, the Eucharist, faith in the Heavenly Father, his forgiveness … in summary, many things, his most precious goods. Not just to guard them, but to make them grow. While in common usage the term 'talent' refers to a marked individual quality, such as talent in music, in sport, and so on, in the parable the talents represent the gifts of the Lord. … The hole that the 'wicked and lazy' servant digs in the ground indicates the fear of risk that obstructs creativity and the fruitfulness of love. … Jesus does not ask us to preserve his grace in a safe … but instead wants us to put it to the good of others. All the gifts that we have received are to be given to others, and in this way they grow. … And as for us, what have we done with them? Who have we 'infected' with our faith? How many people have we encouraged with our hope? How much love have we shared with our neighbour? … Any environment, even the most distant and impracticable, may become a place where the talents may bear fruit. There are no situations or places that are precluded from Christian presence and witness. The testimony that Jesus asks of us is not closed, it is open, and it depends on us”.
The parable of the talents “urges us not to hide our faith and our belonging to Christ, not to bury the Word of the Gospel, but to make it circulate in our life … as a power that disrupts and renews. The same is true of forgiveness, that the Lord gives us especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; let us not keep it closed up in ourselves, but instead let it break down the walls that our selfishness has built up, and take the first step in reactivating paralysed relationships, resuming dialogue where there is no longer communication”. Pope Francis encouraged those present to re-read the parable in the Gospel of St. Matthew to reflect on how we use or hide the talents we receive.
“Also, the Lord does not give everyone the same things, or in the same way: he knows us personally and entrusts what it right for us, but there is one thing that is the same in everyone: the same, immense trust. God trusts us, God has hope in us. Let us not disappoint Him! Let us not be deceived by fear, but rather reciprocate trust with trust”.
Immigrants and citizens: do not yield to the temptation of confrontation
Vatican City, 16 November 2014 (VIS) – After the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis spoke about the tensions that have emerged during recent days between residents and immigrants in various areas of Rome.
“These are events that have occurred in various European cities, especially in outlying areas where other hardships are experienced. I invite all institutions, at all levels, to consider as a priority what now constitutes a social emergency and which, if not faced as soon as possible and in an appropriate manner, risks degenerating further. The Christian community makes concrete efforts to ensure that encounter takes the place of confrontation. Citizens and immigrants, with representatives of institutions, can meet, even in a room in the parish, and speak together about the situation. The important thing is not to yield to the temptation of confrontation, rejecting every form of violence. It is possible to engage in dialogue, to listen, to plan together and, in this way, overcome suspicion and prejudice, and to build a safer, more peaceful and inclusive co-existence”.
He also remarked that today is World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims. “Let us remember in prayer those who have lost their lives in these circumstances”. He concluded, “I hope for constant efforts in the prevention of road accidents, as well as prudence and respect for traffic laws by drivers”.
Francis receives Catholic doctors: no life is qualitatively more significant than another
Vatican City, 15 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall Pope Francis received in audience six thousand doctors, members of the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors, on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of its foundation. In his address, he commented that “the conquests of science and medicine can contribute to the improvement of human life, provided that they do not drift away from the ethical root of such disciplines”.
“Attention to human life, especially when it is most in difficulty, in the case of the sick, the elderly, and children, profoundly involves the mission of the Church. She is also called upon to participate in the debate on human life, presenting her outlook based on the Gospel. In many contexts, quality of life is linked predominantly to economic conditions, 'well-being', beauty and the pleasure of life in a physical sense, forgetting other deeper dimensions – relational, spiritual and religious – of existence. In reality, in the light of faith and good reason, human life is always sacred and always 'of quality'. There does not exist a human life that is more sacred than another, just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another, simply on the basis of greater means, rights, and economic and social opportunities”, emphasised the Holy Father.
Therefore, he continued, the work of Catholic doctors must offer witness “by word and by deed that human life is always sacred, valid and inviolable, and as such must be loved, defended and cared for”. The profession of medicine, “enriched with the spirit of faith, is a further reason to collaborate with those – even of different religious beliefs or thought – who recognise the dignity of human beings as a criterion for their activity. Indeed, while the Hippocratic oath commits you to serving life, the Gospel leads you further – to love it always and anyway, especially when in need of particular care and attention”.
“Prevalent thought offers a 'false compassion': that which sees abortion as being in favour of women, procuring euthanasia as an act of dignity, and the 'production' of a child – considered as a right instead of being welcomed as a gift – as a scientific conquest, as well as using human lives as 'guinea pigs', presumably to save others. Instead, compassion based on the Gospel is that which accompanies in times of need, that of the Good Samaritan, who 'sees', who 'has compassion', who approaches and offers concrete help”. The Pontiff concluded, “Your mission as doctors puts you in daily contact with many forms of suffering: I encourage you to take these on as 'good Samaritans', taking special care of the elderly, the sick and the disabled. Faithfulness to the Gospel of life and the response to it as a gift from God will at times require courageous, counter-current decisions that, in particular circumstances, may lead to conscientious objection, and to the many social consequences that such fidelity leads to. We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But it is a bad form of experimentation. … Playing with life … is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator, Who created all things as they are”.
The Holy See at the United Nations: defending the civil population from remnants of war
Vatican City, 15 November 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva spoke on 10 November at the 8 th Conference of the States Party to Protocol V of the Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects (CCW). Protocol V stipulates the obligations and the best practices to defend the civil population against the dangers of explosive remnants of war and abandoned ordinances.
“For the sake of credibility and to keep the door open for negotiating and adopting other instruments in the future, it is incumbent upon all States parties to take seriously the implementation of this instrument in its preventative dimension as well as in its remedial dimension”, said Archbishop Tomasi in his English-language address. “The many conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, North Africa and Europe remind us of our responsibilities regarding explosive remnants of war and abandoned ordinances. Apart from the safety of civilians, we are witnessing national and regional destabilisation because of the lack of safety and security of stocks, that the international community is unable or not sufficiently prepared to prevent. … It is true that the primary responsibility lies with the affected State. But international cooperation is also an obligation. Almost all current conflicts involve national, regional and international actors, state actors and non-state actors. It must also be borne in mind that the majority of countries in conflict are developing countries which do not always have sufficient means to overcome the consequences of armed conflict on their soil”.
“The success of the partnership between States, international organisations and non-governmental organisations in several areas of disarmament is well established. CCW, including Protocol V, has always opened its door to the participation of civil society and its organisations. We all profit from the professionalism and expertise of these organisations. We believe they should continue to have a place and a voice in this sphere, and a role to play in international cooperation in the prevention and remedy of damages caused by explosive remnants of war”.
“Wars and armed conflicts are always a failure of politics and of humanity”, he concluded. “International humanitarian law should keep this essential human dimension to make coexistence possible nationally and internationally. When the international community fails to preserve peace, it should not accept a second failure. Protocol V is a modest attempt to prevent innocent people from becoming victims once the conflict is over. Compliance is not only a legal obligation. It is in the first place a moral duty towards the people and a political duty to restore peace”.
Cardinal Gracias, Pope's special envoy at the 500th anniversary of the evangelisation of Myanmar
Vatican City, 15 November 2014 (VIS) – In a letter made public today, written in Latin and dated 16 October, the Holy Father nominated Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, as his special envoy at the celebration of the fifth centenary of the evangelisation of Myanmar, scheduled to take place in Yangon from 21-23 November 2014.
The pontifical mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Rev. Fr. Mariano Soe Naing, S.D.B., professor in the Theological Institute of the St. Joseph Major Seminary, Yangon, and Rev. Fr. Peter Sein Hlaing, O.O., lecturer at the same Institute.
Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has received in audience:
- Archbishop Ivan Jurkovie, apostolic nuncio in Russia and Uzbekistan;
- Mehmet Pagaci, new ambassador of Turkey to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters;
- Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon, Korea;
- Maestro Daniel Baremboim and entourage;
- Eleven prelates of the Zambia Episcopal Conference, on their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit:
- Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis"of Mpika;
- Bishop Patrick Chisanga, O.F.M. Conv., of Mansa;
- Archbishop Telesphore George Mpundu of Lusaka;
- Bishop George Cosmas Zumaire Lungu of Chipata, with his auxiliary, Bishop Benjamin Phiri;
- Bishop Clement Mulenga, S.D.B., of Kabwe;
- Bishop Raymond Mpezele of Livingstone;
- Bishop Evans Chinyama Chinyemba, O.M.I., of Mongu;
- Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monse;
- Bishop Alick Banda of Ndola;
- Bishop Charles Joseph Sampa Kasonde of Solwezi.
On Saturday, 15 November, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples;
- Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Canada, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada, with the deputy president, Bishop David Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, and the deputy secretary, Bede Hubbard.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Rev. Fr. Cristobal Ascencio Garcia as bishop of Apatzingan (area 13,102, population 404,000, Catholics 373,000, priests 59, religious 126), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in El Josefino de Allende, Mexico in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1985. He holds a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of San Juan de los Lagos, including parish priest of the “Espiritu Santu” parish; prefect and subsequently rector of the major seminary, and judge in the ecclesiastical tribunal and the Appeals Tribunal. He is currently parish priest of the “San Francisco de Asis” parish in Tepatitlan di Morelos. He succeeds Bishop Miguel Patino Velazquez, M.S.F., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Rev. Fr. Juan Carlos Ares as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Buenos Aires (area 203, population 2,944,000, Catholics 2,696,000, priests 782, permanent deacons 10, religious 1,951), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1989. He has served as parish priest of the “San Rafael” parish, chaplain of Scouts in Argentina for the Episcopal Vicariate Devoto, deputy director of the Schools Department of the archiepiscopate of Buenos Aires, and parish priest of “San Ramon Nonato”. He is currently parish priest of “Nuestra Senora de Balvanera”.
- appointed Rev. Martin Fassi as auxiliary of the diocese of San Isidro (area 1,379, population 1,178,000, Catholics 1,120,000, priests 138, permanent deacons 38, religious 203), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in San Isidro, Argentina in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1984. He studied philosophy and theology in the San Agustin major seminary, San Isidro, and has served as formator of the regional seminary “Nuestra Senora de la Encarnacion” in Resistencia, missionary in the diocese of Olguin, Cuba, and parish priest in the “Purisima Concepcion” parish of Pacheco. He is currently vicar general of the diocese of San Isidro.
- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Guadalajara, Mexico, presented by Bishop Miguel Romano Gomez, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
On Saturday, 15 November, the Holy Father:
- appointed Bishop Stephen Tjephe as bishop of the diocese of Loikaw (area 11,670, population 346,000, Catholics 74,868, priests 93, religious 235), Myanmar. Msgr. Tjephe is currently auxiliary of Liokaw and apostolic administrator “sede vacante ed ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the same diocese.
- appointed Rev. Fr. Francisco Javier Pistilli Scorzara, J. Sch., as bishop of Encarnacion (area 16,525, population 611,000, Catholics 502,000, priests 52, permanent deacons 1, religious 110), Paraguay. The bishop-elect was born in Asuncion, Paraguay in 1965, gave his religious vows in 1988 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He completed his studies at the theologate of the Capuchin Franciscan Fathers in Munster, Germany, and has served as parish vicar in the Nuestra Senora del Rosario parish in Luque, Asuncion; and master of novices in Tuparanda, San Lorenzo. He is currently regional superior of the Secular Institute of Schonstatt Fathers for Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Nigeria. He succeeds Bishop Ignacio Gogorza Izaguirre, S.C.I. Of Beth, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Encarnacion, Paraguay, presented by Bishop Claudio Silvero Acosta, S.C.I. Beth, upon reaching the age limit.
- appointed Rev. Fr. Heinz Wilhem Steckling, O.M.I., as bishop of Ciudad del Este (area 29,562, population 795,000, Catholics 783,200, priests 111, permanent deacons 1, religious 198), Paraguay. The bishop-elect was born in Werl, Germany in 1947 and was ordained a priest in 1974. He holds a diploma in theology from the University of Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany. He has served in as provincial of the vice provincia of Pilcomayo e Nord Argentina of the Oblate Missionaries and superior general of his congregation and is currently rector of the major seminary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Asuncion, Paraguay, and consultor for the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
- appointed Rev. Fr. Lorenzo Lorusso, O.P., as under secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Fr. Lorusso is currently consultor of the same dicastery, rector of the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari, and lecturer in Law at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome.
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