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Saturday, June 30, 2018 Daily Mass Reading

Bible: Daily Readings Audio USCCB - 06/30/2018 - 5:00am
Daily Mass Readings from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States of America.

You can also read Daily Readings and view Daily Reflections by visiting www.usccb.org/bible/readings/
Categories: Daily Readings

Friday, June 29, 2018 Daily Mass Reading

Bible: Daily Readings Audio USCCB - 06/29/2018 - 5:00am
Daily Mass Readings from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States of America.

You can also read Daily Readings and view Daily Reflections by visiting www.usccb.org/bible/readings/
Categories: Daily Readings

Friday, June 29, 2018 Vigil Mass Reading

Bible: Daily Readings Audio USCCB - 06/29/2018 - 5:00am
Daily Mass Readings from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States of America.

You can also read Daily Readings and view Daily Reflections by visiting www.usccb.org/bible/readings/
Categories: Daily Readings

Thursday, June 28, 2018 Daily Mass Reading

Bible: Daily Readings Audio USCCB - 06/28/2018 - 5:00am
Daily Mass Readings from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States of America.

You can also read Daily Readings and view Daily Reflections by visiting www.usccb.org/bible/readings/
Categories: Daily Readings

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 Daily Mass Reading

Bible: Daily Readings Audio USCCB - 06/27/2018 - 5:00am
Daily Mass Readings from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States of America.

You can also read Daily Readings and view Daily Reflections by visiting www.usccb.org/bible/readings/
Categories: Daily Readings

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 Daily Mass Reading

Bible: Daily Readings Audio USCCB - 06/26/2018 - 5:00am
Daily Mass Readings from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States of America.

You can also read Daily Readings and view Daily Reflections by visiting www.usccb.org/bible/readings/
Categories: Daily Readings

FEATURE: Inciting International Action to Defeat Religious Persecution & Repression

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 2 hours 39 min ago

A part of a comprehensive, international effort to incite action around the world to defeat religious persecution and repression….

U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista L. Gingrich, stressed this when speaking about the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See-hosted symposium on religious freedom on Monday, June 25, 2018, on “Defending International Religious Freedom: Partnership and Action” at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce.  It included opening remarks by the Ambassador and closing remarks by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Presented in partnership with Aid to the Church in Need and the Community of Sant’Egidio, the symposium will promote the universal right of religious freedom and raise awareness of religious persecution, particularly in the Middle East.

Symposium speakers included Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, Cardinal-designate Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan, Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Professor Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Community of Sant’Egidio, and Mark Von Riedemann, Director of Public Affairs at Aid to the Church in Need. Yazidi Community Activist Salwa Khalaf Rasho and the Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See, Omar Al-Barazanji, spoke, and Victoria Alvarado, Senior Advisor for International Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State, and former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, served as moderator.

America’s 1st Freedom

Ambassador Gingrich stressed: “The right to worship freely is America’s first freedom, codified in the First Amendment to our Constitution. Safeguarding religious freedom is fundamental to the founding principles of the United States. It’s part of who we are as a people and a nation.”

“America’s Founders understood religious freedom not as the state’s creation, but as an inalienable right from God. Our commitment to this ideal remains steadfast.”

“As this year’s report shows – repression, violence, and discrimination are daily realities for millions of believers in every region of the world. In many cases, their human rights are limited or restricted entirely. Indeed, no religious community is immune from persecution.”

The Ambassador highlighted:

  • In Venezuela, President Maduro attacks leaders of the Catholic Church for exposing that
    people are starving and lack medical care.
  • Terrorist groups in parts of Africa kill scores of Christians and Muslims, and abduct
    schoolgirls.
  •  Christian pastors and Baha’i are jailed in Iran for exercising their right to worship freely.
  •  Anti-Semitism is on the rise globally.
  •  Russian authorities target and persecute peaceful religious groups at home and abroad.
  •  Minority groups like Ahmadi Muslims are persecuted in Pakistan.
  •  In China, Uighur Muslims are sent to re-education camps.
  •  Tibetan Buddhists are forbidden to organize — and their leaders are imprisoned.
  •  Rohingya Muslims face ethnic cleansing and displacement in Burma.
  •  Saudi Arabia prohibits non-Muslims from practicing their religion in public, and imprisons individuals for apostasy and blasphemy.
  • And Christians, Shia Muslims, and Yezidis in the Middle East continue to suffer from ISIS atrocities.

“What is most astonishing is that these examples represent just a small portion of religious persecution and repression around the world. As these facts illustrate, it’s a dangerous time to be a person of faith. We are at a critical moment. We can and must do more.”

Unmask Masquerades

Cardinal Parolin adamantly reminded: ‘No violence in the name of religion is acceptable.’

Moreover, the Vatican Secretary of State recalled the Holy Father’s words when he visited Egypt and addressed al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s highest institute of learning, on April 28, 2017: “Violence is the negation of every authentic religious expression,” he said. “As religious leaders, we are called, therefore, to unmask the violence that masquerades as purported sanctity and is based more on the ‘absolutizing’ of selfishness than on authentic openness to the absolute.”

Imperative

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri recalled the Holy Father’s Sept. 26, 2015, address at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall: “In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or, as I said earlier, to try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality, it is imperative that the followers of the various religious traditions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance and respect for the dignity and the rights of others.”

The Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches highlighted how important it is to preserve Lebanon as well as the need to help Iraq.

Misuse

Cardinal-designate Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan, expressed how there used to be religious freedom in his country, but over time the right has ‘gradually eroded.’  He stressed, however, that not only the Christians suffer this, but also Muslims are targeted and persecuted.

The Blasphemy Law, he noted, is very easily misused. Even if there is no proof, one can easily be misused, to accuse someone of having ‘broken the law.’ When that person cannot defend himself from that accusation, then they face death.

He stressed that the way this law is formulated is very problematic, as it includes no consideration of ‘intent.’

No Compulsion

The Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See gave a strong discourse. “One of the Human rights laws established by the United Nation, Article 1,2 and 18 of  the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) consists of:  

‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.’

“Also the Islamic religion has given this liberty for fourteen centuries in its texts and verses, one is very specific and says: ‘There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.’

Must Change

Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, stressed that religion should only be used to help other religions, not for any other reasons. He also noted that for progress to be made, they need to focus on helping people, rather than converting them, and that what is most important is not just ‘talking,’ but ‘constructing.’ The attitudes of people, as well as governments, he highlighted, must change.

Professor Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Community of Sant’Egidio, stressed that aside from the early centuries of the Church, those starting from the 20th Century are those where Christians are being persecuted the most. He also stressed how Sant’Egidio has been helping these suffering, but how more has to be done.

Mark Von Riedemann, Director of Public Affairs at Aid to the Church in Need, called for action. He stressed the need ‘to get facts straight,’ warning how much misinformation is circulating. In order to remedy these problems and make those who have had to flee, return, he said it is essential to find ways to help people integrate, get jobs, and set up basic infrastructure, such as water and electricity.

Horror Continues

Yazidi Community Activist Salwa Khalaf Rasho, whose Yezidi community has been subject to 74 genocidal campaigns throughout history, said the Islamic State killed thousands of Yezidi men ‘in the most horrific ways.’

“As a result,” she said, “about 60 mass graves have been found in my town of Sinjar. More than 6000 women and girls were kidnapped, including me and many of my relatives. We have been subjected to all types of sexual and physical abuse and violence. We were sold in slave markets.”

Having been kidnapped by ISIS and held captive for eight months, Salwa observed: ‘During this period I was subjected to unthinkable practices. I finally had the chance to escape from their grip, but other women and girls did not. More than 3,000 of them are still missing, enduring a fate of daily rape and torture which has constituted their lives for the past four years.”

Must Protect

Rev. Luis Navarro,  rector of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, reminded: “After right to life, according to St. Pope John Paul II, religious freedom is the next important right. It must be protected.” He expressed his hope this conference helps to protect this fundamental right.

The symposium featured panel discussions on protecting religious minorities in the Middle East, and promoting religious freedom through interreligious dialogue.  Participants included Holy See-accredited diplomats, faith leaders, civil society representatives, academics, and others.

“Defending International Religious Freedom: Partnership and Action” was a precursor to the first-ever “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom,” which will be convened by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, D.C., July 25-26.

The post FEATURE: Inciting International Action to Defeat Religious Persecution & Repression appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Australia: Pope Welcomes Governor General Cosgrove

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 3 hours 18 min ago

Pope Francis on June 25, 2018, received in audience in the Apostolic Palace the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, General Sir Peter Cosgrove, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussion, the themes of migration, at both global and regional levels, and climate change, were considered. Mention was also made of the role of the Church in Australian society, and the current discussion on the protection of minors and vulnerable people, reiterating the commitment of all members of the Church in this regard.

Attention then turned to the social situation of the country, and to the question of peace and stability in the entire region of the Pacific and of Asia.

Cosgrove and wife Lynne also presented the Holy Father with an Australian World Cup jersey. The Vatican has no comment on whether this would alter the Pope’s loyalties in the global soccer event.

The post Australia: Pope Welcomes Governor General Cosgrove appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Pope Francis Serves a Sunday Surprise

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 3 hours 36 min ago

Pope Francis has shown himself to be a Pontiff of surprises, not more heart-warming than those surprise visits to people on the peripheries.

Sunday, June 24, 2018, he made an unexpected visit to the cooperative for the disabled on the outskirts of Rome, Durante e Dopo di Noi. Casa OSA. The center is part of the  “Dopo di Noi” foundation that provides assistance to the disabled and their families. The organization serves some 50,000 people across Italy.

The Holy Father not only spoke to the gathering of 200 disabled persons but greeted each one personally. There are reports of much joyful laughter and many hugs.

 

The post Pope Francis Serves a Sunday Surprise appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Pope to Educators: Do Not Lose Hope!

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 4 hours 4 min ago

Pope Francis on June 25, 2018, had advice for educators, none more important than not to lose hope.

His remarks came in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, in a talk to the members of the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation. Pope Francis founded the Foundation in 2015, to support innovative and impactful projects, invest in quality, promote scientific studies and foster networking between educational institutions.

The Holy Father gave three suggestions to improve educations:

  1. Networking, connecting various educational institutions as well as different academic disciplines.
  2. Maintaining hope: “We are called not to lose hope because we must offer hope to the global world of today.”
  3. Implement projects that identify with the mission of the Church, are of high quality, and serve the common good.

“To fulfill your mission, therefore, you must lay its foundations in a way consistent with our Christian identity; establish means appropriate for the quality of study and research, and pursue goals in harmony with service to the common good” concluded the Holy Father. “A plan of thought and action based on these solid pillars will be able to contribute, through education, to building a future in which the dignity of the person and universal fraternity are global resources upon which every citizen of the world can draw.”

Address of the Holy Father

I offer a cordial welcome to those taking part in the Conference “To Educate is to Transform” promoted by the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation. I thank Cardinal Versaldi for his words of introduction and I am grateful to each of you for bringing the richness of your experiences in various sectors related to your personal and professional activities.

As you know, I established this Foundation on 28 October 2015, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Gravissimum Educationis, at the request of the Congregation for Catholic Education. By this foundation, the Church renews her commitment to Catholic education in step with the historical transformations of our time. The Foundation is, in fact, a response to the appeal made by the conciliar Declaration, which suggested that schools and universities cooperate so as better to face today’s challenges (cf. no. 12). This recommendation of the Council has developed over time, and can also be found in the recent Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium on Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties, which speaks of “the urgent need for ‘networking’ between those institutions worldwide that cultivate and promote ecclesiastical studies” (Foreword, 4d) and, more broadly, among Catholic educational institutions.

Only by changing education can we change the world.  To this end, I should like to offer you some suggestions:

  1. First, it is important to “network”. Networking means uniting schools and universities for the sake of improving the work education and research, drawing upon everyone’s strong points for greater effectiveness on the intellectual and cultural levels.

Networking also means uniting the various branches of knowledge, the sciences, and fields of study, in order to face complex challenges with an inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approach, as recommended by Veritatis Gaudium (cf. no. 4c).

Networking means creating spaces for encounter and dialogue within educational institutions, and encouraging similar spaces outside our institutions, with people of other cultures, other traditions, and different religions, so that a Christian humanism can consider the overall reality of humanity today.

Networking also means making the school an educating community where teachers and students are brought together not only by the teaching curriculum but also by a curriculum of life and experience that can educate the different generations to mutual sharing. This is so important so as not to lose our roots!

Moreover, the challenges facing our human family today are global, in a more wide-ranging sense than is often thought. Catholic education is not limited to forming minds to a broader outlook, capable of embracing distant realities. It also recognized that mankind’s moral responsibility today does not just extend through space, but also through time and that present choices have repercussions for future generations.

  1. Another challenge facing education today is one that I pointed out in my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium: “we must not allow ourselves to be robbed of hope!” (no. 86). With this appeal, I meant to encourage the men and women of our time to face social change optimistically, so that they can immerse themselves in reality with the light that radiates from the promise of Christian salvation.

We are called not to lose hope because we must offer hope to the global world of today. “Globalizing hope” and “supporting the hopes of globalization” are basic commitments in the mission of Catholic education, as stated in the recent document of the Congregation for Catholic Education Educating to Fraternal Humanism (cf. nn. 18-19). A globalization bereft of hope or vision can easily be conditioned by economic interests, which are often far removed from a correct understanding of the common good, and which easily give rise to social tensions, economic conflicts and abuses of power. We need to give a soul to the global world through an intellectual and moral formation that can support the good things that globalization brings and correct the harmful ones.

These are important goals that can be attained by the growth of scientific research carried out by universities and present, too, in the mission of the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation Quality research, which looks to a horizon rich in challenges. Some of these challenges, as I noted in my Encyclical Laudato Si’, have to do with processes of global interdependence. The latter is, on the one hand, a beneficial historical force since it marks a greater cohesion among human beings; on the other, it gives rise to injustices and brings out the close relationship between grave forms of human poverty and the ecological crises of our world. The response is to be sought in developing and researching an integral ecology. Again, I should like to emphasize the economic challenge, based on researching better models of development corresponding to a more authentic understanding of human fulfillment and capable of correcting some of the perverse mechanisms of consumption and production. Then too, there is the political challenge: the power of technology is constantly expanding. One of its effects is to spread a throw-away culture that engulfs objects and persons without distinction. It entails a vision of man as a predator and the world in which we live as a resource to be despoiled at will.

Certainly, there is no shortage of work for academics and researchers engaged with the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation!

  1. The work before you, with the support you give to innovative educational projects, must respect three essential criteria in order to be effective:

First, identity. This calls for consistency and continuity with the mission of schools, universities and research centers founded, promoted or accompanied by the Church and open to all. Those values are essential for following the way marked out by Christian civilization and by the Church’s mission of evangelization. In this way, you can help to indicate what paths to take, in order to give up-to-date answers to today’s problems, with a preferential regard for those who are most needy.

Another essential point is quality. This is the sure beacon that must shed light on every enterprise of study, research, and education. It is necessary for achieving those “outstanding interdisciplinary centers” recommended by the Constitution Veritatis Gaudium (cf. n. 5) and which the Foundation Gravissimum Educationis aspires to support.

Then too, your work cannot overlook the goal of the common good. The common good is difficult to define in our societies characterized by the coexistence of citizens, groups, and peoples belonging to different cultures, traditions, and faiths. We must broaden the horizons of the common good, educating everyone to understand that we belong to one human family.

To fulfill your mission, therefore, you must lay its foundations in a way consistent with our Christian identity; establish means appropriate for the quality of study and research; and pursue goals in harmony with service to the common good.

A plan of thought and action based on these solid pillars will be able to contribute, through education, to building a future in which the dignity of the person and universal fraternity are global resources upon which every citizen of the world can draw.

I thank you for all that you can do with your support for the Foundation, and I encourage you to continue in this worthy and beneficial mission.  Upon you, your colleagues and families, I cordially invoke the Lord’s abundant blessings. And I ask you, please, to remember to pray for me. Thank you.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

The post Pope to Educators: Do Not Lose Hope! appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Archbishop Paglia: Great Responsibility of Defending Life

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 4 hours 29 min ago

“We have been given a great and exciting responsibility which calls for the active commitment of women and men of science, culture and the Church,” said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for life, on June 25, 2018. “The specification of being ‘for Life’ places us at the service of the lives of the men and women of our time and none of these lives, starting with those of the poorest and most defenseless, can be lost, discarded or wasted.”

His comments came during a press conference held for the presentation of the 24th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL) on the theme “Equal beginnings. But then? A global responsibility”, which is taking place in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall from 25 to 27 June 2018.

Intervention by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia

The months between the 2017 Assembly and the one we are inaugurating today – the 24th edition – have been particularly full for all of us and for the entire Academy.

A great responsibility

We have been given a great and exciting responsibility which calls for the active commitment of women and men of science, culture and the Church. The specification of being “for Life” places us at the service of the lives of the men and women of our time and none of these lives, starting with those of the poorest and most defenseless, can be lost, discarded or wasted.

In order for this service to be effective and concrete, we must face themes that demand a deep scientific understanding and a great knowledge of the human being: it is of little use to know in minute detail every aspect of living organisms without understanding the meaning of life and human existence.

In recent months the Academy has emphasized some of these serious and urgent subjects, such as the influence of technology in the different ages of people’s lives (it was the theme of the last Assembly, the valuable proceedings of which you have in your folder), as well as the complex and often painful issues related to the final moments of human existence, the frontiers of genetics, neurosciences, artificial intelligences and robotics. The close and unavoidable connection between the questions of the ethics of human life and the social and economic context designed by a promising and apparently ungovernable globalization is the horizon that will be explored in the workshop held today and tomorrow. The list, although long, captures only some of the major issues we have before us and which we must face. Our Academy, through the work of everyone and the service of all, must offer a repositioning of the question of the life of men capable, if not of restoring its overall meaning, at least of making the question re-emerge, to let the human question emerge that each inhabitant of this earth, with his concrete life, poses inexorably. We owe it to everyone, without exclusion, and above all to those who live disfigured by illness, poverty, unbearable injustice.

The Pope has called us to this responsibility within the ambit of the broader mission of the Church so that the Good News of that Life “that was the light of mankind and [that] darkness has not overcome” (cf. Jn 1: 4-5) may reach all over the world. Pope Francis, whom we will listen to this morning, has emphasized several times that the proclamation of the Gospel is sterile when it is limited to a cold re-offering of doctrine:

We should not think, however, that the Gospel message must always be communicated by fixed formulations learned by heart or by specific words which express an absolutely invariable content. … The ultimate aim should be that the Gospel, as preached in categories proper to each culture, will create a new synthesis with that particular culture. This is always a slow process and at times we can be overly fearful. But if we allow doubts and fears to dampen our courage, instead of being creative we will remain comfortable and make no progress whatsoever. In this case, we will not take an active part in historical processes, but become mere onlookers as the Church gradually stagnates” (Evangelii Gaudium, 129).

Our Pontifical Academy is called to be one of those places where dialogue with science and contemporary cultures must produce precious fruits. Returning to the Gospel parable of the talents, I wish to liken our Academy to those talents that the Pope has entrusted to us so that we can make them profit, so we can multiply them. And the way is that of “living” contemporary cultures, exchanging with each other, frequenting the fields of science and knowledge. We can not be like that servant who puts his talent on the ground, out of fear, out of laziness, out of indifference. It would be gravely wrong. I do not simply talk about the talents entrusted to each of us. Here I mean that unique talent that is our Academy, with all its members, ordinaries, correspondents and young researchers, belonging to the Catholic Church and other Christian confessions, to other religions and non-believers. All united in dealing in the talent that is our Academy so that Life is guarded, defended and promoted, everywhere.

Gratitude and wonder

The great issues that have occupied us in recent months have generated a surprising network of relationships and collaborations that – I must admit –at the beginning of my term I would not have imagined to be so wide-ranging. In these few months, the Academy has collaborated with the World Medical Association and numerous Catholic and non-Catholic medical associations, in India, Australia, United States, Italy; we have signed formal collaborative relationships with Georgetown University in Washington, with the Catholic University of Milan, with the UCAM in Murcia, with the Methodist Research Center in Houston, with the Catholic Health Association of India; we worked side by side with the French bishops on the occasion of the General States on the bioethics of that country; and we have engaged with several NGOs accredited to the United Nations.

The frank and sincere dialogue that characterizes an outgoing Church at every level brings surprising results.

That is why today I want to thank you all. What I have tried to summarize in a few lines is the result of your personal work and that of the many collaborators who work alongside you every day: thank them on my behalf, and on behalf of the Pope. It is also the result of the work of the staff of the central office of the Academy, which has faced with passion and diligence this new, tiring and exciting, phase of work. A special thanks goes to Monsignor Renzo Pegoraro, our chancellor, recently reconfirmed in office for the coming five years.

Thank you.

 

The post Archbishop Paglia: Great Responsibility of Defending Life appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Pope Urges Integral Ecology, Holistic View of Person

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 4 hours 46 min ago

Pope Francis on June 25, 2018, stressed the need for an “integral ecology” and taking a “holistic view of the human person”.

His remarks came in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, where he received the participants in the 24th General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) on the theme “Equal beginnings. But then? A global responsibility”, which is taking place in the Vatican, in the New Synod Hall, from 25 to 27 June 2018.

“The wisdom that should inspire our attitude towards “human ecology” is encouraged to consider the ethical and spiritual quality of life in all its phases,” the Pope said, drawing heavily on his Encyclical Laudato Si. In particular, he made the connection between damage to the earth and the negative impact on those people most in need.

“When we deliver children to deprivation, the poor to hunger, the persecuted to war, the old to abandonment, do not we ourselves, instead, do the ‘dirty’ work of death,” contended the Holy Father. “Where does the dirty work of death come from? It comes from sin. Evil tries to persuade us that death is the end of everything, that we have come to the world by chance and we are destined to end up in nothingness.”

Instead, Pope Francis proposed a “global vision of bioethics” and an “integral ecology” that recognizes the connection between the fragility of the planet and the poor. And an important element is the valuing of the human body as a gift from God.

“It is, therefore, necessary to proceed with a careful discernment of the complex fundamental differences of human life: of man and woman, of fatherhood and motherhood, of filiation and fraternity, of sociality and also of all the different ages of life,” Francis said. “And also, all the difficult conditions and all the delicate or dangerous passages that require special ethical wisdom and courageous moral resistance: sexuality and generation, sickness and old age, insufficiency and disability, deprivation and exclusion, violence and war.”

He concluded by emphasizing the need to reflect on the “serious question” of life’s ultimate destiny:

“This means highlighting with greater clarity what directs the existence of man towards a horizon that surpasses him: every person is gratuitously called ‘to commune with God and share in His happiness. [The Church] further teaches that a hope related to the end of time does not diminish the importance of intervening duties but rather undergirds the acquittal of them with fresh incentives’ (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 21). We need to reflect more deeply on the ultimate destination of life, capable of restoring dignity and meaning to the mystery of its deepest and most sacred affections. The life of man, enchantingly beautiful and fragile to die, refers beyond itself: we are infinitely more than what we can do for ourselves.”

 

Address of the Holy Father

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am glad to address my greeting to you all, starting from the President, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, whom I thank for introducing me to this General Assembly, in which the theme of human life will be situated in the broad context of the globalized world in which we live today. And also, I wish to greet to Cardinal Sgreccia, ninety years old but enthusiastic and young, in his commitment in favor of life. Thank you, Your Eminence, for what you have done in this field and for what you are doing. Thank you.

The wisdom that should inspire our attitude towards “human ecology” is encouraged to consider the ethical and spiritual quality of life in all its phases. There exists a conceived human life, a life in gestation, a life that has come to light, a child’s life, a teenage life, an adult life, an aged and consumed life – and there exists an eternal life. There is a life that is family and community, a life that is invocation and hope. Just as there is fragile and sick human life, wounded, offended, dejected, marginalized, discarded life. It is always human life. It is the life of human persons, who inhabit the earth created by God and share the common home with all living creatures. Certainly, in the biology laboratories, life is studied with the tools that allow exploring its physical, chemical and mechanical aspects. A very important and indispensable study, but one which must be integrated with a broader and deeper perspective, which calls for attention to the truly human life, which erupts on the world scene with the prodigy of the word and of thought, affections and spirit. What recognition does the human wisdom of life receive today from the natural sciences? And what political culture inspires the promotion and protection of real human life? The “beautiful” work of life is the generation of a new person, the education of his spiritual and creative qualities, the initiation to the love of family and community, the care of his vulnerabilities and his wounds; as well as initiation into the life of children of God, in Jesus Christ.

When we deliver children to deprivation, the poor to hunger, the persecuted to war, the old to abandonment, do not we ourselves, instead, do the “dirty” work of death? Where does the dirty work of death come from? It comes from sin. Evil tries to persuade us that death is the end of everything, that we have come to the world by chance and we are destined to end up in nothingness. Excluding the other from our horizon, life folds back on itself and becomes a consumer good. Narcissus, the character of ancient mythology, who loves himself and ignores the good of others, is naive and does not even realize it. Meanwhile, however, it spreads a very contagious spiritual virus, which condemns us to become mirror-men and mirror-women, who see only themselves and nothing else. It is like becoming blind to life and its dynamic, as a gift received from others and asking to be placed responsibly in circulation for others.

The global vision of bioethics, which you are preparing to relaunch in the field of social ethics and of planetary humanism, strengthened by Christian inspiration, will engage with more seriousness and rigor to defuse this complicity with the dirty work of death, supported by sin. In this way, I may restore to us the reasons and practices of the covenant with the grace destined by God for the life of each one of us. This bioethics will not take illness and death as a starting point in deciding the meaning of life or defining the value of the person. It will rather start from the profound conviction of the irrevocable dignity of the human person, as God loves him, the dignity of every person, in every phase and condition of his existence, in the search for the forms of love and care that must be addressed to his vulnerability and fragility.

So, in the first place, this global bioethics will be a specific way of developing the perspective of integral ecology that is proper to the Encyclical Laudato si’, in which I have insisted on these strong points: “the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, the conviction that everything in the world is connected, the critique of new paradigms and the forms of power derived from technology, the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, the value proper to each creature, the human meaning of ecology, the need for forthright and honest debate, the serious responsibility of international and local policy, the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle” (no. 16).

Secondly, in a holistic view of the person, it is necessary to articulate with ever greater clarity all the concrete connections and differences in which the universal human condition dwells and which involve us, starting from our body. Indeed “our body itself establishes us in a direct relationship with the environment and with other living beings. The acceptance of our body as a gift from God is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy a absolute power over creation. Learning to accept your body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different” (Laudato si’, 155).

It is, therefore, necessary to proceed with a careful discernment of the complex fundamental differences of human life: of man and woman, of fatherhood and motherhood, of filiation and fraternity, of sociality and also of all the different ages of life. And also, all the difficult conditions and all the delicate or dangerous passages that require special ethical wisdom and courageous moral resistance: sexuality and generation, sickness and old age, insufficiency and disability, deprivation and exclusion. , violence and war. “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection” (Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, 101).

In the texts and teachings of Christian and ecclesiastical formation, these themes of the ethics of human life will have to find an appropriate place in the context of a global anthropology, and not be confined to the limit-questions of morality and law. I hope that a conversion to today’s centrality of the integral human ecology, or rather a harmonious and complete comprehension of the human condition, will I hope find valid support and propositional tone in your intellectual, civil and religious effort.

Global bioethics thus urges us towards the wisdom of a profound and objective discernment of the value of personal and community life, which must be preserved and promoted even in the most difficult conditions. We must also strongly state that, without the adequate support of a responsible human closeness, no purely juridical regulation and no technical aid can, on their own, guarantee conditions and relational contexts that correspond to the dignity of the person. The prospect of a globalization that, left only to its spontaneous dynamics, tends to increase and deepen inequalities, urges an ethical response in favor of justice. The attention to the social, economic, cultural and environmental factors that determine health is part of this commitment, and becomes a concrete way to realize “the right of every people to its own identity, independence and security, as well as the right to share, on a basis of equality and solidarity, in the goods intended for all” (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo rei socialis, 21).

Finally, the culture of life must take a more serious look at the “serious question” of its ultimate destination. This means highlighting with greater clarity what directs the existence of man towards a horizon that surpasses him: every person is gratuitously called “to commune with God and share in His happiness. [The Church] further teaches that a hope related to the end of time does not diminish the importance of intervening duties but rather undergirds the acquittal of them with fresh incentives” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 21 ). We need to reflect more deeply on the ultimate destination of life, capable of restoring dignity and meaning to the mystery of its deepest and most sacred affections. The life of man, enchantingly beautiful and fragile to die, refers beyond itself: we are infinitely more than what we can do for ourselves. But human life is also incredibly tenacious, certainly for a mysterious grace that comes from above, in the audacity of its invocation of a justice and a definitive victory of love. And it is even capable – hoping against all hope – to sacrifice itself for it, unto the end. Recognizing and appreciating this fidelity and dedication to life arouses gratitude and responsibility in us, and encourages us to generously offer our knowledge and our experience to the whole human community. Christian wisdom must reopen with passion and boldness the thought of the destination of the human race to the life of God, which has promised to open to the love of life, beyond death, the infinite horizon of loving bodies of light, no longer with tears. And to amaze them eternally with the ever new enchantment of all things, “visible and invisible”, concealed in the womb of the Creator. Thank you.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

The post Pope Urges Integral Ecology, Holistic View of Person appeared first on ZENIT - English.

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