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The World Seen From Rome
Updated: 38 min 38 sec ago

Pope: ‘We Must Be Witnesses of the Gospel’

3 hours 6 min ago

Pope Francis stressed this today to members of the Papal Foundation, who are in Rome for their annual pilgrimage. The foundation is a charity which financially supports the pastoral activities of the pontiffs.

According to its website, the Papal Foundation began in 1988 as a response to the desire of Catholic clergy and laity in the U.S. for a unique, sustainable way to support the Holy Father and his witness in the world.

Income generated from the investment of capital creates a perpetual source of revenue. The portfolio does not invest in any companies that engage in activities inconsistent with our faith.

In his address this morning, Pope Francis expressed that their meeting today was “pervaded by the joy of the Easter season, as the Church celebrates the Lord’s victory over death and his gift of new life in the Holy Spirit.”

He expressed his hope that their pilgrimage will strengthen them in faith and hope, and in their “commitment to promote the Church’s mission by supporting so many religious and charitable causes close to the heart of the Pope.”

Our Witness to Gospel Is Needed

“Today’s world, so often torn by violence, greed and indifference,” the Pope went on to say, “greatly needs our witness to the Gospel message of hope in the redemptive and reconciling power of God’s love.”

The Pontiff thanked them for their desire to assist the Church’s efforts to proclaim the message of hope “to the ends of the earth” and to work for the spiritual and material advancement of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, especially in developing countries.

Each Called to Foster Unity, Peace

“Each of us, as a living member of Christ’s body,” he stressed, “is called to foster the unity and peace that is the Father’s will, in Christ, for our human family and all its members.”

Pope Francis, before concluding and giving his Apostolic Blessing, said: I ask you, as a vital part of your commitment to the work of the Papal Foundation, to pray for the needs of the poor, the conversion of hearts, the spread of the Gospel, and the Church’s growth in holiness and missionary zeal.”

“And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me!”


On ZENIT’s Web page

Full Text:

On the NET:

Official Site of the Papal Foundation:


Pope to Catholic Action: Spread the Joy of the Faith

3 hours 42 min ago

Pope Francis met this Thursday morning with the participants in Catholic Action’s 2nd International Congress on the theme “Catholic Action Is Mission with All and for All.”

Speaking in Spanish and off-the-cuff, the Pontiff addressed some 300 participants and said: ”I’m going to permit myself to put the text aside and to tell you what I feel.”

He divided his address into six points: charism in the light of Evangelii Gaudium, guidelines for action, the subjects or agents, the recipients and the style Catholic Action must have and its Plan.

On Catholic Action’s style, he wondered: “How can we re-formulate the charism in the light of Evangelii Gaudium, which is the framework of the whole apostolic action in the Church today?” Francis pointed out that CA’s charism must be that of the “Church deeply incarnated in the today and here of each diocesan Church,” supported on four fundamental pillars: prayer, formation, sacrifice and apostolate, of which — given the characteristics of this moment –, the apostolate “must be distinctive,” stressed Francis. “There is an integrating dynamism in the mission. It is the mission that integrates,” he added.

Thinking how to renew the evangelizing commitment, the Holy Father said that the mission is the fundamental task of Catholic Action and he invited them to renew and actualize this commitment to evangelization, reaching in truth everyone and all the existential peripheries, assuming the totality of the Church’s mission “in generous belonging to the diocesan Church from the Parish.”

Speaking of the agents, Francis pointed out that all the members of Catholic Action are dynamically missionaries, and he exhorted them to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them, abandoning old criteria and “adopting the criteria that is necessary today.”

He invited Catholic Action to “be present in the political, entrepreneurial, and professional world, in prisons, hospitals, villages, factories, so that it is not transformed into an institution of the “exclusive, which does not say anything to anyone, and neither to the Church herself. All have a right to be evangelizers,” he stressed.

And, in this context, the Pontiff affirmed that Catholic Action must popularize itself more.

“Catholic Action cannot be far from the people but in the midst of the people” and, to be able to follow this way, “it is good to receive a deluge of people,” he added.

The Pope also pointed out the steps through which Catholic Action’s “plan” must pass: to “get in first,” to involve itself, to accompany, to fructify and celebrate, walking together.


And he exhorted them: Spread with the joy of the faith! Do not fall into the temptation of structuralism. The Catholic passion, the Church’s passion is to live the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing.

Anniversary of Arrival of the Icon of Our Lady of Scutari in Italy

3 hours 57 min ago

On April 22, 2017, Pope Francis wrote in Latin to Cardinal Franc Rode, his special envoy for the celebration of the 550th anniversary of the arrival of the icon of Our Lady of Scutari, Albania, at the church of Genazzano, near Rome.

The celebration, taking place on April 26 in the National Shrine of Scutari in Albania, commemorates the arrival of the statue of Our Lady of Scutari at the church of Our Lady of Good Counsel of Genazzano, after the Albanian Shrine was destroyed by the Ottomans in 1467.

Celebrations are also being held in the Italian town. Earlier this week, Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, Archbishop Emeritus of Palermo, celebrated a solemn Mass.

The Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rode is Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Pope’s Morning Homily: Crosses Cannot Be Taken Away From the Life of a Christian

4 hours 3 min ago

Like Jesus, we are to be witnesses of obedience.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis urged this today, April 27, 2017, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, his last before departing for his Apostolic Visit to Egypt, April  28-29.

The Pope’s homily focused on today’s reading, in which Peter says before the Sanhedrin: “You must obey God rather than men.”  Francis recalled that an angel had freed Peter and the Apostles from prison and that they were forbidden to teach in Jesus’s name. Yet the high priest said: “You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us”.

To help those present in his chapel better understand this event, the Jesuit Pontiff also referred to the Book of Acts, regarding the early months of the Church  which describes a growing Christian community and many miracles.

While there was the faith of the people, Francis said, there were also “wily” people trying to take advantage of the situation and “wanting to make a career for themselves,” he lamented.

Happens Too Today

Today, we see the same kind of dynamics, the Holy Father observed, especially when we refer to those who despise “God’s faithful people.”

In today’s reading, the Pope noted, Peter, who betrayed Jesus on Holy Thursday, this time, courageously answered the high priest saying: “we must obey God rather than men.”

Peter’s answer, the Successor of Peter said, makes it clear that “a Christian is a witness of obedience” as Jesus was. He recalled when Jesus said to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane: “not my will but yours be done.”

“The Christian is a witness of obedience,” he said, pointing out,  “if we are not on this path and growing in our witness we are not Christians.”

He stressed that being Christian demands this trait.

“Jesus,” the Pope clarified, “is not the testimonial of an idea, of a philosophy, of a company, of a bank or of power: he is a testimonial of obedience”.

Holy Spirit’s Grace

To become a “witness of obedience,” the Pontiff highlighted, we need the “grace of the Holy Spirit”.

“Only the Spirit can make us witnesses of obedience. It’s not enough to listen to spiritual guides or to read books…. all that is fine but only the Spirit can change our heart and make us witnesses of obedience,” he said.

We must ask for this grace, the Pope said, recommending we say: “Father,  Lord Jesus, send me your Spirit so that I may become a witness of obedience, that is, a Christian.”

To be witnesses of obedience, Francis also warned, implies consequences. In the first reading, after Peter responded, the high priests wanted to put him to death.

Crosses to Be Expected

“Persecutions were the consequences of this witness of obedience. When Jesus lists the Beatitudes he ends with the words ‘Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you,’” he said.

The cross, the Pope pointed out, cannot be taken away from the life of a Christian.

“Being a Christian has nothing to do with social status, it is not a lifestyle that makes one feel good; being a Christian means being a witness of obedience and the life of a Christian is full of insults and persecutions.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily saying that in order to be witnesses of obedience like Jesus, it is necessary to pray, to recognize that we are sinners with much “worldliness” in our hearts.

He also encouraged those present to ask God for the grace of becoming witnesses of obedience” and to not be afraid when we are insulted and persecuted “because as the Lord said: the Spirit will tell us what to answer.”



Pope’s Address to Papal Foundation

8 hours 47 min ago

Here is the Vatican-provided text of an address Pope Francis gave today to members of the Papal Foundation, who are in Rome for their annual pilgrimage. The foundation is a charity which financially supports the pastoral activities of the pontiffs.


I am pleased to greet the members of The Papal Foundation on this, your annual visit to Rome. Our meeting today is pervaded by the joy of the Easter season, as the Church celebrates the Lord’s victory over death and his gift of new life in the Holy Spirit. It is my hope that your pilgrimage to the Eternal City will strengthen you in faith and hope, and in your commitment to promote the Church’s mission by supporting so many religious and charitable causes close to the heart of the Pope.

Today’s world, so often torn by violence, greed and indifference, greatly needs our witness to the Gospel message of hope in the redemptive and reconciling power of God’s love. I am grateful for your desire to assist the Church’s efforts to proclaim that message of hope to the ends of the earth and to work for the spiritual and material advancement of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, especially in developing countries. Each of us, as a living member of Christ’s body, is called to foster the unity and peace that is the Father’s will, in Christ, for our human family and all its members. I ask you, as a vital part of your commitment to the work of the Papal Foundation, to pray for the needs of the poor, the conversion of hearts, the spread of the Gospel, and the Church’s growth in holiness and missionary zeal. And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me!

Dear friends, with these words of encouragement, and with great affection, I commend you and your families to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church. To all of you I impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of abiding joy and peace in the Lord.

Thank you.

[Original Text: Italian] [Vatican-provided translation]



Pope at General Audience: “God Always Accompanies Us, Even When We Forget Him”

04/26/2017 - 1:52pm

“Ours is not an absent God, sequestered in a very distant heaven. Instead, He is a God “passionate” for man, so tenderly loving that He is incapable of separating Himself from him. Also in today’s General Audience, April 26, 2017, Pope Francis put the accent on the message of hope contained in the Gospel. He did so, evoking the Christian symbol of the anchor, which represents the indissoluble bond  between us and Heaven.

His reflection began with the last words of Saint Matthew’s Gospel: “I will be with you always, to the close of the age,” which “recall the prophetic proclamation we find at the beginning, that is, “He will be given the name Emmanuel, which means God with us.” Francis pointed out that the whole Gospel is enclosed in these two quotations.

They demonstrate God’s closeness to our human affairs. Francis reflected: “We humans are clever in cutting bonds and bridges. He, instead, does not; if our heart becomes cold, His remains incandescent. Our God accompanies us always even if, unfortunately, we were to forget Him. On the ridge that divides incredulity from faith, the discovery is decisive of being loved and accompanied by our Father, of not being left alone by Him,” he continued.

The Father’s company persists throughout our “pilgrimage,” added the Pontiff, recalling the figure of Abraham who obeyed the divine command “Go from your country.” A journey that we Christians undertake with Jesus beside us, because He assures us that He “not only waits for us at the end of our long journey, but that He accompanies us in every one of our days.”

In fact, “the heavens will pass away, the earth will pass away, human hopes will be cancelled, but the Word of God is greater than all and will not pass away,” said the Holy Father. The Pope’s invitation, therefore, is to remember that “God will surely provide for all our needs; He will not abandon us in the time of trial and darkness,” – a certainty that we call “Providence.”

See then why the Pope brought to mind the Christian symbol of the anchor. “It expresses that our hope is not vague; it is not confused with the changing sentiments of one who wants to improve the things of this world in an unrealistic way, relying only on his will power,” he affirmed. This symbol “is an instrument for navigators who throw it on the beach and grip the rope to bring the boat to the shore,” and therefore “our faith is the anchor in heaven, faith brings us close to heaven,’ he added.

Finally, the Pontiff recalled the old Latin adage “Homo viator, spe erectus,” which means that “man is a wayfarer, supported by faith.” All that remains then is to trust “that the good God is already at work to bring about what humanly seems impossible, because the anchor is on heaven’s beach.” After all, “there is no part of the world that escapes the victory of the Risen Christ, the victory of love,” concluded the Pope.


Nineteenth Meeting of Council of Cardinals Concludes

04/26/2017 - 1:43pm

Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, has reiterated that Pope Francis and the Council of Cardinals are continuing to discuss curial reform.

During a briefing held this afternoon in the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican spokesman informed journalists about the 19th Session of the “Council of Cardinals,” often called the “C9,” which began Monday and ends this afternoon in the Vatican.

Director Burke noted that the Pope participated in all, but this morning’s meeting, due to his weekly General Audience.

The working sessions were held in the morning from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, and in the afternoon, from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm, and were dedicated to further considerations on several dicasteries of the Curia, in particular, the discussion continued on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide), and on the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

The Cardinals also studied texts proposed by the Holy Father regarding the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts; and three tribunals: the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

During these days, the council also studied the selection and formation of staff at the service of the Holy See, laymen and clergymen. Participating were officials and superiors of the State Secretariat, of the Council for the Economy, and of the Labor Office of the Apostolic See (ULSA).

Present for the State Secretariat were Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher and Monsignor Jan Romeo Pawlowski. Intervening for the Council for the Economy, in addition to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, was Professor Franco Vermiglio, member of the same council. Reporting to the Cardinals for ULSA were Monsignor Giorgio Corbellini and lawyer Salvatore Vecchio.

Another important topic addressed by the C9, the Vatican spokesman noted, was the relation between the Episcopal Conferences and the Roman Curia.

Cardinal George Pell gave an update on the work of the Secretariat for the Economy presided by him, with special attention to the monitoring of last year’s budget.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley updated the Council on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, with particular attention to the programs of global education, the last Plenary Meeting and the visit to several Dicasteries.

The Council of Cardinals consists of the following nine prelates: Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago, Chile; Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay; Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa, Congo; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston; Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy; Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State.

The next session of the Council of Cardinals is scheduled for June 12-14.

GENERAL AUDIENCE: On God’s Promise That Gives Hope

04/26/2017 - 6:58am

This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:25 in St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.

In his address in Italian, the Pope focused his meditation on the theme: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (cf. Matthew 28:20): The Promise that Gives Hope.”

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present.

The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

Below is a ZENIT working translation of Pope Francis’ address this morning:

* * *

The Holy Father’s Catechesis

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The last words of Matthew’s Gospel recall the prophetic proclamation that we find at the beginning: “His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means, God with us” (Matthew 1:23; cf. Isaiah 7:14). God will be with us, every day, to the close of the age. The whole Gospel is enclosed in these two quotations, words that communicate the mystery of a God whose name, whose identity is to be-with: He is not an isolated God; He is a God-with, in particular, with us, namely, with the human creature. Our God is not an absent God, sequestered in a very distant heaven; instead, He is a God “passionate” for man, so tenderly loving as to be incapable of separating Himself from him. We humans are clever in cutting off bonds and bridges. He, instead, is not. If our heart becomes cold, His remains always incandescent; our God accompanies us always, even if, unfortunately, we were to forget Him. Decisive on the ridge that divides incredulity from faith is the discovery of being loved and accompanied by our Father, of never being left alone by Him.

Our existence is a pilgrimage, a journey. Even all those who are moved by a simply human hope perceive the seduction of the horizon, which drives them to explore worlds they still do not know. Our spirit is a migrant spirit. The Bible is full of stories of pilgrims and travelers. Abraham’s vocation began with this command: “Go from your country” (Genesis 12:1). And the Patriarch left that piece of the world that he knew well and that was one of the cradles of the civilization of his time. Everything conspired against the good sense of that trip. Yet Abraham left. We do not become mature men and women if we do not perceive the attraction of the horizon: that limit between heaven and earth, which calls to be reached by a people of walkers.

In his journey on earth, man is never alone. The Christian especially never feels abandoned, because Jesus assures us that He does not only wait for us at the end of our long journey, but that He accompanies us in every one of our days.

Until when will God’s care continue in His dealings with man? Until when will the Lord Jesus, who walks with us, until when will He care for us? The Gospel’s answer leaves no room for doubt: to the close of the age! The heavens will pass away, the earth will pass away, human hopes will be cancelled, but the Word of God is greater than all and will not pass away. And He will be the God with us, the God Jesus who walks with us. There will be no day in our life in which we will cease to be of concern for God’s heart. But someone might say: “But what are you saying?” I say this: there will be no day in our life in which we will cease to be of concern for God’s heart. He is concerned about us, and walks with us. And why does He do this? — Simply because He loves us. Is this understood? He loves us! And God will surely provide for all our needs; He will not abandon us in the time of trial and of darkness. This certainty calls for being nested in our spirit to never be extinguished. Some call it with the name “Providence,” that is, God’s closeness, God’s love, God’s walking with us is also called “God’s Providence”: He provides for our life.

It is no accident that among the Christian symbols of hope there is one that I like so much: the anchor. It expresses that our hope is not vague; it is not confused with the changing sentiment of one who wishes to improve the things of this world in an unrealistic way, relying only on his will power. Christian hope finds its root in fact not in the attraction of the future but in the certainty of what God has promised us and realized in Jesus Christ. If He has guaranteed that He will never abandon us, if the beginning of every vocation is a “Follow Me,” with which He assures us that He will always stay ahead us, then why fear? With this promise, Christians can walk everywhere, also going across portions of the wounded world, where things are not going well, we are among those that even there continue to hope. The Psalm says: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4). It is precisely where the darkness increases that it is necessary to have a light lit. Let us return to the anchor. Our faith is the anchor in heaven. We have our life anchored in heaven. What must we do? <We must> grip the cord: it is always there. And we go ahead because we are sure that our life has as an anchor in heaven, on that shore where we will arrive.

If we entrusted ourselves only to our strength, we would certainly have reason to feel disappointed and defeated, because the world often shows itself refractory to the laws of love. So often it prefers the laws of egoism. However, if the certainty survives in us that God does not abandon us, that God loves us and this world tenderly, then the perspective changes immediately. “Homo viator, spe erectus,” said the ancients. Along the way, Jesus’ promise “I am with you” makes us stand, erect, with hope, confident that the good God is already working to bring about what humanly seems impossible, because the anchor is on heaven’s beach.

The holy faithful people of God are people that stand – “homo viator” — and walk, but stand, “erectus,” and walk in hope. And, wherever they go, they know that God’s love has preceded them: there is no part of the world that escapes the victory of the Risen Christ. And what is the victory of the Risen Christ? <It is> the victory of love. Thank you

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester] 

In Italian

A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I am happy to receive the youngsters of the Profession of Faith of Treviso and the couples of the Archdiocese of Ancona-Osimo, who are observing their 50th wedding anniversary: I hope that this pilgrimage will arouse in each one the rediscovery of the Sacraments received, efficacious signs of God’s grace in our life. And you, who observe your 50th wedding anniversary, say to young people that it is beautiful: beautiful is the life of Christian marriage!

I greet the participants in the congress on the anti-earthquake building industry in Latin America at the Italo-Latin American Institute promoted by the European University; the third-age Divine Word Fathers; the Blue Telephone Association; the Choir of Clusone; the faithful of Cardito, Belvedere and Pellezzano, as well as the “Soccer Priests” sports society and those of Andria and Oriolo. May the visit to the tombs of the Apostles foster in all the sense of belonging to the ecclesial family.

A special greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Yesterday we celebrated the feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist. May his discipleship in following Saint Paul be an example for you, dear young people, to put yourselves in the following of the Savior; may his intercession support you, dear sick, in the difficulty and trial of sickness; and may his brief and incisive Gospel remind you, dear newlyweds, of the importance of prayer in the matrimonial course you have undertaken.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Pope Francis’ ‘Talk’ to TED (Full Text)

04/26/2017 - 6:48am

Pope Francis has participated tonight (3:30 a.m. Rome time) in TED 2017, which is taking place in Vancouver Canada, with a ‘TED Talk’ which lasted 18 minutes.

The video, recorded in the Vatican, is available on the website with subtitles in more than 20 languages:

This marks the first-ever papal TED Talk.

A non-profit organization, TED is dedicated to spreading ideas in the form of short talks. It had begun in 1984 as a conference covering Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED), and today provides talks from a wide range of different speakers.

Sources report that those following TED’s annual Conference were promised a surprise “world figure” who would deliver his 18-minute message on the conference theme, “The Future You,”alongside tennis and chess champions, including Serena Williams, and entrepreneurs.

Yet, no one expected it to be the Supreme Pontiff.

Below is the Vatican – provided working English translation of the Pope’s words:


His Holiness Pope Francis TED Talk

Recorded in Vatican City

First shown at TED2017, Vancouver, Canada, 25 April 2017

English translation

Video available at


Good evening – or, good morning, I am not sure what time it is there.

Regardless of the hour, I am thrilled to be participating in your conference. I very much like its title – “The Future You” – because, while looking at tomorrow, it invites us to open a dialogue today, to look at the future through a “you.”

“The Future You:” the future is made of yous, it is made of encounters, because life flows through our relations with others. Quite a few years of life have strengthened my conviction that each and everyone’s existence is deeply tied to that of others: life is not time merely passing by, life is about interactions.

As I meet, or lend an ear to those who are sick, to the migrants who face terrible hardships in search of a brighter future, to prison inmates who carry a hell of pain inside their hearts, and to those, many of them young, who cannot find a job, I often find myself wondering:

“Why them and not me?” I, myself, was born in a family of migrants; my father, my grandparents, like many other Italians, left for Argentina and met the fate of those who are left with nothing. I could have very well ended up among today’s “discarded” people.

And that’s why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: “Why them and not me?” First and foremost, I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.

We don’t think about it often, but everything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state. Even the harsh judgment I hold in my heart against my brother or my sister, the open wound that was never cured, the offense that was never forgiven, the rancor that is only going to hurt me, are all instances of a fight that I carry within me, a flare deep in my heart that needs to be extinguished before it goes up in flames, leaving only ashes behind.

Many of us, nowadays, seem to believe that a happy future is something impossible to achieve. While such concerns must be taken very seriously, they are not invincible. They can be overcome when we don’t lock our door to the outside world.

Happiness can only be discovered as a gift of harmony between the whole and each single component. Even science – and you know it better than I do – points to an understanding of reality as a place where every element connects and interacts with everything else.

And this brings me to my second message. How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.

How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries.

Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the “culture of waste,” which doesn’t concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people.

Solidarity is a term that many wish to erase from the dictionary. Solidarity, however, is not an automatic mechanism. It cannot be programmed or controlled. It is a free response born from the heart of each and everyone. Yes, a free response!

When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?

In order to do good, we need memory, we need courage and we need creativity. And I know that TED gathers many creative minds. Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude. Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough. Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The “you” is always a real presence, a person to take care of.

There is a parable Jesus told to help us understand the difference between those who’d rather not be bothered and those who take care of the other. I am sure you have heard it before. It is the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

When Jesus was asked: “Who is my neighbor?” – namely, “Who should I take care of?” – he told this story, the story of a man who had been assaulted, robbed, beaten and abandoned along a dirt road. Upon seeing him, a priest and a Levite, two very influential people of the time, walked past him without stopping to help. After a while, a Samaritan, a very much despised ethnicity at the time, walked by. Seeing the injured man lying on the ground, he did not ignore him as if he weren’t even there. Instead, he felt compassion for this man, which compelled him to act in a very concrete manner. He poured oil and wine on the wounds of the helpless man, brought him to a hostel and paid out of his pocket for him to be assisted.

The story of the Good Samaritan is the story of today’s humanity. People’s paths are riddled with suffering, as everything is centered around money, and things, instead of people. And often there is this habit, by people who call themselves “respectable,” of not taking care of the others, thus leaving behind thousands of human beings, or entire populations, on the side of the road.

Fortunately, there are also those who are creating a new world by taking care of the other, even out of their own pockets. Mother Teresa actually said: “One cannot love, unless it is at their own expense.”

We have so much to do, and we must do it together. But how can we do that with all the evil we breathe every day?

Thank God, no system can nullify our desire to open up to the good, to compassion and to our capacity to react against evil, all of which stem from deep within our hearts.

Now you might tell me, “Sure, these are beautiful words, but I am not the Good Samaritan, nor Mother Teresa of Calcutta.” On the contrary: we are precious, each and every one of us. Each and every one of us is irreplaceable in the eyes of God. Through the darkness of today’s conflicts, each and every one of us can become a bright candle, a reminder that light will overcome darkness, and never the other way around.

To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow.

Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree. It is like some invisible yeast that allows the whole dough to grow, that brings flavor to all aspects of life.

And it can do so much, because a tiny flicker of light that feeds on hope is enough to shatter the shield of darkness. A single individual is enough for hope to exist.

And that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No. Hope began with one “you.” When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution.

The third message I would like to share today is, indeed, about revolution: the revolution of tenderness.

What is tenderness? It is the love that comes close and becomes real. It is a movement that starts from our heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands. Tenderness means to use our eyes to see the other, our ears to hear the other, to listen to the children, the poor, those who are afraid of the future. To listen also to the silent cry of our common home, of our sick and polluted earth. Tenderness means to use our hands and our heart to comfort the other, to take care of those in need.

Tenderness is the language of the young children, of those who need the other. A child’s love for mom and dad grows through their touch, their gaze, their voice, their tenderness. I like when I hear parents talk to their babies, adapting to the little child, sharing the same level of communication. This is tenderness: being on the same level as the other.

God himself descended into Jesus to be on our level. This is the same path the Good Samaritan took. This is the path that Jesus himself took. He lowered himself, he lived his entire human existence practicing the real, concrete language of love.

Yes, tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility.

Please, allow me to say it loud and clear: the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other.

There is a saying in Argentina: “Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach.” You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness.

Through humility and concrete love, on the other hand, power – the highest, the strongest one – becomes a service, a force for good.

The future of humankind isn’t exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies. Yes, they do hold an enormous responsibility. But the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a “you” and themselves as part of an “us.”

We all need each other.

And so, please, think of me as well with tenderness, so that I can fulfill the task I have been given for the good of the other, of each and every one, of all of you, of all of us.

Thank you.

[Original Text: Italian] [Vatican-provided working translation]


On the NET:

To watch the Pope’s video-message:

Pope to Mexican Bishops: Seek, in Example of Family of Nazareth, Inspiration to Continue Fostering Family Values

04/26/2017 - 6:19am

Through the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, the Holy Father Francis sent a message to the Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM), meeting in its 103rd Plenary Assembly, in which he exhorts to work tirelessly to foster the values of the family and the building of a more supportive, fraternal and just society.

The message, sent to the Apostolic Nunciature, was read on Monday afternoon by the Archbishop Emeritus of Morelia, Alberto Suarez Inda, in the Mass prior to the event, celebrated in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and in the framework of the centenary of the National Union of Parents (UNPF).

“Cardinal Jose Francisco Robles Ortega, Archbishop of Guadalajara, President of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, His Holiness Pope Francis greets warmly the Mexican Bishops gathered to begin the 103rd Plenary Assembly, as well as the members of the National Union of Parents, on the occasion of the centenary of this institution’s foundation,” reads the message.

And he exhorts those in the assembly “to seek, in the example of the Family of Nazareth, the inspiration and stimulus necessary to continue working together and tirelessly in favor of the fostering of values of the family and the building of a more supportive, fraternal and just society, where God’s love shines,” says the Pope in the message.

“With these sentiments, while entrusting you to the protection of the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, the Holy Father imparts his heartfelt implored Apostolic Blessing, which he is pleased to extend to all those who join this celebration,” ends the message signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, His Holiness’ Secretary of State.

The celebration was presided over by Cardinal Jose Francisco Robles Ortega, Archbishop of Guadalajara and President of CEM. Concelebrating with him were the Bishops of the Mexican Episcopal Conference.

The 103rd Plenary Assembly of the Mexican Episcopal Conference began today and will end on April 28. Some 134 Bishops are attending it, from the country’s 95 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, grouped in 18 provinces. Also attending is the Apostolic Nuncio, the President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Mexico (CIRM), and the Executive Secretaries of the Episcopal Commission and members of the team of Vicars of Pastoral Care.

Pope to Middle East Pilgrims: ‘Our Existence Is a Pilgrimage’

04/26/2017 - 5:47am

“I give a warm welcome to the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, particularly those from the Middle East!”, said Pope Francis during the General Audience of April 26, 2017.

This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:30 in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.

The Pope spoke in Italian, translated immediately into Arabic by one of his collaborators in the Roman Curia: “Dear brothers and sisters, remind yourselves always that our existence is a pilgrimage and that the love of God precedes us, and sustains us in our journey.”

“May the Lord bless you all!” he said.


GENERAL AUDIENCE: Pope: ‘Don’t Lose Heart. Accept Jesus’ Invitation to Follow Him’

04/26/2017 - 5:33am

Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of the Pope’s address at the General Audience this morning:



Dear Brothers and Sisters: During this Easter season, our catechesis on Christian hope reflects on the resurrection of Jesus the basis of our firm trust in God’s constant protection and love. Saint Matthew’s Gospel begins with the birth of Jesus as Emmanuel – “God with us” – and concludes with the Risen Lord’s promise that he will remain with us always, to the end of the age. At every step of life’s journey, God is at our side, leading us as he did the patriarchs of old, to the goal of our earthly pilgrimage. His care lasts “to the end of the age”; the heavens and the earth will pass away, yet he will continue to watch over us in his loving providence. From ancient times, Christian hope has been symbolized by the anchor, as a sign of its firm basis in God’s promises, which have been fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Because our trust is in God, and not in ourselves or this world, we readily take up Jesus’ invitation to follow him, nor do we lose heart before life’s difficulties, disappointments and defeats. May our hope in victory of the Risen Christ confirm us on every step of our journey towards the fullness of eternal life.


I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly the groups from England, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Nigeria, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!

[Original text: English]

© Libreria editrice vaticana

Pope’s Morning Homily: Proclaim Gospel With Humility

04/25/2017 - 6:30am

We are to proclaim the Gospel with humility.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis urged this today, April 25, 2017, the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, his second since the Easter break.

The Pope’s homily focused on the passage from the Gospel of St Mark, which relates the story of the Great Commission. He said “the Gospel is always proclaimed on the journey, never seated, always on the journey.”

The Gospel, Francis stressed, must be proclaimed with humility, overcoming the temptation of pride, and Christians, he encouraged, must go out to proclaim the Good News, remaining on that journey, without stopping.

On Preachers Who Seek Life Insurance Policies

A preacher, Francis also said, must always be on a journey and not seek “an insurance policy,” seeking safety by remaining in one place.

Christians, the Pope said, need “to go out where Jesus is not known, or where Jesus is persecuted, or where Jesus is disfigured, to proclaim the true Gospel.”

“To go out in order to proclaim. And, also, in this going out there is life, the life of the preacher is played out. He is not safe; there are no life insurance policies for preachers. And if a preacher seeks a life insurance policy, he is not a true preacher of the Gospel: He doesn’t go out, he stays in place, safe.

So, first of all: Go, go out. The Gospel, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, goes forth, always; on a journey, always. On a physical journey, on a spiritual journey, on a journey of suffering.

But what is “the style of this proclamation?” the Pope asked.

The Pope observed that Saint Peter, who was St Mark’s teacher, was perfectly clear in his description of this style, namely that the Gospel must be announced in humility, because the Son of God humbled Himself, annihilated Himself.”

This, the Pope said, “is the style of God,”noting there is no other.

Not a Carnival, Nor Party

“The proclamation of the Gospel,” he said, “is not a carnival, a party.”

With humility and overcoming the temptation of worldliness, the Gospel must be preached, the Pope said. Never can it be announced, he cautioned, “with human power, cannot be proclaimed with human power, cannot be proclaimed with the spirit of climbing and advancement.”

“This is not the Gospel,” he said.

The Pope then asked those present why is this humility necessary.

“Precisely because,” he answered, “we carry forward a proclamation of humiliation – of glory, but through humility. And the proclamation of the Gospel undergoes temptation: the temptation of power, the temptation of pride, the temptation of worldliness, of so many kinds of worldliness that they bring [to] preaching or to speaking; because he does not preach a watered down Gospel, without strength, a Gospel without Christ crucified and risen.”

“And for this reason,” the Jesuit Pope recalled, “St Peter says: ‘Be vigilant, be vigilant, be vigilant… Your enemy the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.’ The proclamation of the Gospel, if it is true, undergoes temptation.”

Lord Will Comfort

If a Christian says he is proclaiming the Gospel “but is never tempted,” Francis highlighted that it means that “the devil is not worried,” because “we are preaching something useless.”

For this reason, the Holy Father continued, “in true preaching there is always some temptation, and also some persecution.” However, when we are suffering, Francis explained, the Lord is there “to restore us, to give us strength, because that is what Jesus promised when He sent the Apostles.”

“The Lord will be there to comfort us, to give us the strength to go forward, because He works with us if we are faithful to the proclamation of the Gospel, if we go out of ourselves to preach Christ crucified, and if we do this with a style of humility, of true humility.”

Pope Francis concluded, praying, “May the Lord grant us this grace, as baptized people, all of us, to take the path of evangelization with humility.”

The Cardinal counsellors of the C-9 were among those taking part in the Mass, Vatican Radio reported.

Pope Sends Video-Message for Visit to Egypt (Full Text)

04/25/2017 - 6:10am

Below is a Vatican-provided working translation of Pope Francis’ video-message in preparation for his visit to Egypt, April 28-29, which was broadcasted this morning in Egypt:

* * *

Dear people of Egypt! Al Salamò Alaikum! Peace be with you!

With a joyful and grateful heart I will come in a few days’ time to visit your dear homeland: cradle of civilization, gift of the Nile, land of sun and hospitality, where Patriarchs and Prophets lived and where God, Clement and Merciful, the One and Almighty, made His voice heard.

I am truly happy to come as a friend, as a messenger of peace and as a pilgrim to the Country that gave, more than two thousand years ago, refuge and hospitality to the Holy Family fleeing from the threats of King Herod (cfr. Mt 2:1-26). I am honoured to visit the land visited by the Holy Family!

I greet you cordially and thank you for having invited me to visit Egypt, which you call “Umm il Dugna” / Mother of the Universe!

I warmly thank Mr. President of the Republic, His Holiness the Patriarch Tawadros II, the Great Imam of Al-Azhar and the Coptic Catholic Patriarch who have invited me; and I thank each one of you, who make space for me in your hearts. I also thank all those people who have worked, and are working, to make this trip possible.

I hope that this visit will be an embrace of consolation and of encouragement to all Christians in the Middle East; a message of friendship and esteem to all inhabitants of Egypt and the region; a message of fraternity and reconciliation to all children of Abraham, particularly in the Islamic world, in which Egypt occupies a primary position. I hope that it may also offer a valid contribution to interreligious dialogue with the Islamic world, and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerated and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church.

Our world, torn by blind violence, which has also afflicted the heart of your dear land – needs peace, love and mercy; it needs workers for peace, free and liberating people, courageous people able to learn from the past to build a future without closing themselves up in prejudices; it needs builders of bridges of peace, dialogue, brotherhood, justice, and humanity.

Dear Egyptian brothers, young and elderly, women and men, Muslims and Christians, rich and poor … I embrace you warmly and ask God Almighty to bless you and protect your country from every evil.

Please, pray for me! Shukran wa Tahiaì Misr! / Thank you, and long live Egypt!

[Original text: Italian – working translation] [Vatican-provided working translation]

Pope Francis Presides Over Final Farewell to Cardinal Nicora

04/25/2017 - 5:52am

The funeral of Cardinal Attilio Nicora, President Emeritus of the Administration of the Holy See’s Patrimony (APSA) and of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF), who died on April 22, 2017, took place on Monday afternoon, April 24, in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Pope presided over the last farewell.

The funeral rites were celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, at the altar of the Chair of Saint Peter. The Book of the Gospels was placed on the coffin of the deceased Cardinal, as it was for the funeral of St. Pope John Paul II.

In his homily, Cardinal Sodano recalled that Cardinal Nicora’s life was totally consecrated to the service of the Church, stressed Vatican Radio in Italian. At the end of the celebration, Pope Francis presided over the rite of the Ultima Commendatio and of the Valedictio.

In a telegram addressed to the deceased’s family this weekend, the Pope expressed his condolences to the cardinal’s loved ones and to the Church of Milan and rendered homage to the “unique competencies” of Cardinal Attilio Nicora and to his service to the Church.  After offering prayers and expressing his closeness to the late cardinal’s loved one’s, the Pontiff entrusted the deceased to the intercession of Mary and of Saint John Paul II “who sent him to govern the diocese of Verona and made him cardinal.”

After Cardinal Attilio Nicora’s death, the College of Cardinals now has 222 members, 117 of whom are electors – younger than 80 – in case of a Conclave.

According to the biography published by the Holy See, Cardinal Attilio Nicora was born in the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, on March 16, 1937. Ordained priest in 1964, he did his studies in Canon Law in Rome, up to a doctorate, before teaching this discipline in his native diocese.

Pope Paul VI appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Milan in 1977. In 1984 he was appointed Co-President of the ecclesiastical side of the Mixed Italo-Vatican Commission charged with elaborating — in the framework of the revision of the Lateran Accords – the reform of the discipline of ecclesiastical goods. Then until 1995 he was Co-President of the Mixed Commission for the implementation of the New Accord signed in 1984. From 1990 to 1992, he was also President of the Episcopal Commission for the Service of Charity and President of Italian Caritas.

On June 30, 1992, John Paul II appointed him to the Episcopal See of Verona, which he left in 1997 to dedicate himself to juridical and canonical questions linked to the Concordat, within the Episcopal Conference. Called to the Roman Curia in 2002 as President of the Administration of the Apostolic See’s Patrimony (APSA), he was made cardinal the following year.

Benedict XVI appointed him Papal Legate for the Basilicas of Saint Francis and of Saint Mary of the Angels at Assisi in 2006. From 2007 to 2013 he was a member of the Cardinals’ Commission of Surveillance of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) and from 2011 to 2014, he was President of the Financial Information Authority (AIF)

Cardinal Nicora was the “inventor” of the “eight for a thousand,” amount of tax on revenue that Italians can allocate to the religious confession of their choice.


On ZENIT’s Web page:

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Promote True Development of Indigenous Peoples, Holy See Appeals (Full Text)

04/25/2017 - 5:33am

Governments are to promote the “true development” of indigenous peoples.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, made this appeal on April 25, 2017, to the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, taking place on the 10th anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

To promote this development, he insisted, requires harmonizing “their right to cultural and social development alongside economic development.”

When initiatives of economic activities affect the indigenous, the Vatican official stated, it is necessary first to obtain their “informed consent.”

“These deeply ingrained values in indigenous traditions and cultures,” Archbishop Auza underscored, “deserve to be set as examples for all people to protect the environment from further degradation. In this regard, indigenous peoples deserve not only our respect, but also our gratitude and support.”

Below is the Vatican Radio – provided text of Archbishop Auza’s address:


Madame Chair,

This year’s High-Level Event to mark the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a welcome opportunity for all stakeholders to take stock of the Declaration’s achievements and to assess the remaining challenges.

Two months ago, Pope Francis met in the Vatican with a group representing indigenous peoples from various parts of the world and discussed two aspects of the economic empowerment of indigenous peoples, namely, the right to development and the right to indigenous identity. On various occasions, especially during his visits to Latin America, the Pope has expressed his desire “to be a spokesman for the deepest longings of indigenous peoples” and, in pleading for respect for indigenous peoples, to raise greater public awareness about the fact that indigenous peoples continue to be “threatened in their identity and even in their existence.”

The Holy See believes that, to promote the true development of indigenous peoples, there must be the harmonization of their right to cultural and social development alongside economic development. This is especially clear when planning economic activities that may interfere with indigenous people’s cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth and to nature, which, if not managed with mutual respect and due regard to their rights could lead to confrontation and conflict of interests.

These concerns can be addressed through “prior and informed consent” of indigenous peoples for initiatives that affect them, be they government initiatives or private sector projects. “In this regard, the right to prior and informed consent should always prevail, as foreseen in Article 32 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Indigenous communities are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners when large projects affecting their ancestral lands are proposed. As Pope Francis affirmed, for these indigenous communities, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. Hence, they care for it best themselves they remain on their own land. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects that are undertaken without regard for the need to protect nature and to preserve the traditions and cultures of the indigenous peoples who have lived those lands from times immemorial.

The Holy See therefore welcomes those national policies that require consultations with, and the informed consent of, indigenous peoples before development projects in their ancestral lands are approved and implemented.

Moreover, there ought to be development of guidelines and projects that respect indigenous identity. This means recognizing that indigenous communities are a part of the population, whose full participation should be promoted and encouraged at the local and national level, thus preventing their further marginalization and promoting their full integration into society. A lack of respect for indigenous identity is a violation of the spirit and letter of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which demands that no one should be left behind.

Respect for indigenous identity also favors the care for our common home. In fact, indigenous traditions and cultures highlight the important interaction and interdependence of the human person and nature, and features particular care for earth as a nurturing mother. Their approach to nature instils in them a greater sense of responsibility, a stronger sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land. They also have a heightened sense of intergenerational solidarity, as they are genuinely concerned to take care of the environment for the sake of their children and grandchildren.

These deeply ingrained values in indigenous traditions and cultures deserve to be set as examples for all people to protect the environment from further degradation. In this regard, indigenous peoples deserve not only our respect, but also our gratitude and support.

Thank you, Madame Chairman.

A Family Will Teach the Pope the Words of the Sign of the Cross in Arabic

04/25/2017 - 5:02am

A family from Bethlehem will teach Pope Francis the words of the Sign of the Cross in Arabic, the day before he leaves for Egypt for his 18th Apostolic Visit to Cairo, April 28-29.

“In this way, the Pope will be more prepared for his visit,” said children Anthony and Lea, who together with their parents, Vincenzo and Carol Bellomo, are representatives of the Holy Land in Catholic Actions 2nd International Congress.

In collaboration with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, the congress begins April 27, 2017, in the New Synod Hall of the Vatican.

The Holy Father is expected to say some words to the Congress, whose theme is “Catholic Action Is Mission, With All and for All.” The Bellomo family, together with the lay people of Catholic Action of Lampedusa and Central Africa, will give a small testimony before Pope Francis’ address.

Some 300 participants from 52 countries will attend the international event, among them bishops and leaders of the laity from several episcopal conferences and from 14 international entities.

The congress is part of the celebration of Catholic Action’s 150th anniversary, which will begin on April 30 in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis.

INTERVIEW: Cardinal Sarah: The Missionary Vocation of the Church in Africa

04/25/2017 - 4:49am

In an interview with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Robert Sarah, speaks about the contribution of the Church in Africa to the Universal Church, about Islam in Africa and the world, about relations between the Church and politics and the challenges facing the Church in Africa. The cardinal insists that “the Church needs unity of faith, unity of doctrine, unity of moral teaching. It needs the primacy of the Pope.”

Happy to get education – Children in the Basic School JP II, a small Catholic school in Wau – Photo courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need


What is the relationship between the African Church and the Universal Church?

Your question, as you put it to me, presents me with something of a difficulty, because in reality the Church here in Africa is part of the Universal Church and thus forms together with it a sole and single Church. Hence, there is no such thing as an “African Church” and, as distinct from it, a “Universal Church”. Your question makes it appear as if ecclesiology depends on a communion between the Churches, and in this you are correct. Nonetheless, we need to remember that the Universal Church is not a sort of federation of local churches. The Universal Church is symbolized and represented by the Church of Rome, with the Pope at its head, the successor of Saint Peter and the head of the apostolic college; hence it is she who has given birth to all the local churches and she who sustains them in the unity of faith and love. As Saint Ignatius of Antioch tells us (circa 110 AD) the Church of Rome is the “All-pure Church which presides in charity.” Thus it is the profession of our common faith and our fidelity to Christ and his Gospel, in union with the Pope, that enables the Church to live in communion.

Is this absolutely essential in order to avoid confusion? Can there not also exist national Churches ?

Without a common faith, the Church is threatened by confusion and then, progressively, she can slide into dispersion and schism. Today there is a grave risk of the fragmentation of the Church, of breaking up the Mystical Body of Christ by insisting on the national identities of the Churches and thus on their capacity to decide for themselves, above all in the so crucial domain of doctrine and morals. As Pope Benedict XVI tells us: “It is clear that a Church does not grow by becoming individualised, by separating on a national level, by closing herself off within a specific cultural context, by giving herself an entirely cultural or national scope; instead the Church needs to have unity of faith, unity of doctrine, unity of moral teaching. She needs the primacy of the Pope, and his mission to confirm the faith of his brethren.” Besides, Africa has always considered and seen the Church as a family, the family of God.

And what is the contribution of the Church in Africa to the Universal Church today?

In this we are faithful to the ecclesiology of the Epistle to the Ephesians: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19). And even though the Church in Northern Africa is very ancient, yet today the Church in sub-Saharan Africa, sees herself as the missionary fruit and the daughter of the Churches of the West. She still needs to be able to rely on the theological, liturgical, spiritual and in particular the monastic experience, and also on the financial support of the Churches of the ancient Christianity of the West. For her part, the Church that is in Africa can humbly offer the West the marvels that God has worked in her through the Holy Spirit, and the tribulations that Jesus continues to endure in the sufferings and material needs of his faithful there.

What are the needs of the Church in Africa?

They are many: disease, wars, hunger, the critical lack of educational and healthcare structures. And then there are the toxic temptations of Western-born ideologies – communism, gender ideology… Africa has become the dumping ground of contraceptive products, of weapons of mass destruction. And she is also the scene of the organized theft of primary mineral resources: it is to this end that they organize and plan the wars and foster disorder on the African continent. So it is that they exploit her natural resources in the absence of any rules or laws. The world economic powers must stop pillaging the poor. They take advantage of their poverty and lack of education, and use their own technology and financial wealth, in order to foment wars and loot the natural riches of the weaker nations without financial resources.

Does Islam represent a threat to the survival of the Catholic Church in Africa?

For many centuries sub-Saharan Islam has coexisted peacably and harmoniously with Christianity. On the other hand the Islam that takes the form of a political organization, intent on imposing itself on the whole world, is indeed a threat, and not just to Africa. In fact it is above all a threat to the societies of the European continent which too often no longer have a true identity or a religion. Those who deny the values of their own tradition, culture and religion are condemned to disappear, for they have lost all their motivation, all their energy and even all the will to fight to defend their own identity.

In what way can ACN, as a pontifical foundation, still better help the Church in Africa?

Today, all the charitable organizations, even the Catholic ones, are focused unilaterally and exclusively on addressing situations of material poverty, but “man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”, as Jesus tells us (cf. Mt 4:4). I therefore encourage ACN to give aid for the formation of priests, seminarians, male and female religious, for catechists, for the construction of churches and seminaries and for spiritual retreats for bishops and priests. I humbly beg all the friends and benefactors of ACN to continue generously supporting the great missionary work of ACN throughout the world and particularly in Africa. For it is true that those bishops and priests who do not take the time – at least for a few days – to place themselves in the presence of God in solitude, silence and prayer, risk dying on the spiritual level, or at the very least, drying out spiritually within. For they will no longer be capable of providing solid spiritual nourishment to the faithful entrusted to them if they themselves do not draw strength from the Lord in a regular and constant manner.

Should we also speak of the political problems?

The Church is gravely mistaken as to the nature of the real crisis if she thinks that her essential mission is to offer solutions to all the political problems relating to justice, peace, poverty, the reception of migrants, etc. while neglecting evangelisation. Certainly, like Christ, the Church cannot disassociate herself from the human problems. Besides, she has always helped here through her schools, her universities, her training centres, her hospitals and dispensaries… Nonetheless, I would like to cite to you the words of an Italian who has converted to Islam (and there are over a hundred thousand like him in Italy). His name is Yahya Pallavicini, and today he is an imam, the President of CO.RE.IS (the Islamic Religious Community) and a professor at the Catholic University of Milan: “If the Church, with the obsession she has today with the values of justice, social rights and the struggle against poverty, ends up as a result by forgetting her contemplative soul, she will fail in her mission and she will be abandoned by a great many of her faithful, owing to the fact that they will no longer recognise in her what constitutes her specific mission.”


Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. (USA); (UK); (AUS); (IRL); (CAN)


19th Meeting of Council of Cardinals In Progress

04/25/2017 - 4:41am

The 19th meeting of the Council of Cardinals is taking place in the Vatican. The C9, as the group is commonly called, is studying the plans for reforming the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor Bonus” on the Roman Curia.

The meeting began Monday morning and concludes on Wednesday.

The Council of Cardinals consists of the following nine prelates: Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago, Chile; Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay; Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Congo; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston; Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy; Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State.

LITURGY Q & A: Vestments for Exposition and Benediction

04/25/2017 - 4:35am

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.


Q: I have looked everywhere for an answer to the question of the required (not just proper) color for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during Lent (and other seasons). I know that the Congregation for Divine Worship, in Eucharistiae Sacramentum, No. 92, mentions that the Benediction is to be done with a white cope and humeral veil, but what about the act of exposing the Blessed Sacrament, apart from the rite of Benediction? I had always thought that only white was to be used, even for the beginning of exposition, but I recently saw a cleric a purple cope to expose the sacrament. I’m pretty sure this is wrong — I believe he should have worn white. But is there a document I could point to so that this can be corrected? — P.K., Cincinnati, Ohio

A: No. 92 of “The Roman Ritual: Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass” says the following regarding the minister of exposition and Benediction:

“The minister, if he is a priest or deacon, should vest in an alb, or a surplice over a cassock, and a stole. … The priest or deacon should wear a white cope and humeral veil to give the blessing at the end of adoration, when the exposition takes place with the monstrance; in the case of exposition in the ciborium, he should put on the humeral veil.”

No. 93-94 also has some details:

“After the people have assembled, a song may be sung while the minister comes to the altar. If the holy eucharist is not reserved at the altar where the exposition is to take place, the minister puts on a humeral veil and brings the sacrament from the place of reservation; he is accompanied by servers or by the faithful with lighted candles.…

“In the case of more solemn and lengthy exposition, the host should be consecrated in the Mass which immediately precedes the exposition and, after communion, should be placed in the monstrance upon the altar. The Mass ends with the prayer after communion, and the concluding rites are admitted. Before the priest leaves, he may place the blessed sacrament on the throne and incense it.”

From these norms we can deduce the following:

The usual color for exposition and Benediction is white for stole cope and humeral veil.

The humeral veil is practically always white. The only exception that is foreseen in the rubrics is the option of using a red or violet humeral veil to carry the Blessed Sacrament from the altar of reservation to the altar during the rite of Holy Communion on Good Friday. Considering that this exception is for one day a year, few places go to the trouble of obtaining such humeral veils.

Since the humeral veil is almost always white, then the stole would be of the same color.

However, the norms themselves imply possible exceptions with respect to exposition. For example, in the case mentioned in No. 94 above, the priest would expose wearing the chasuble and stole of the corresponding Mass. Since this form of exposition is not tied to particular feasts, the exposition could use any liturgical color.

The above would be the most common exception. Another would be if solemn vespers are celebrated at the conclusion of a prolonged period of adoration. In this case the celebrant could wear a stole and cope of the proper liturgical color of the office and then give the Benediction using a white humeral veil. Otherwise he could wear white for the hour of the Divine Office.

Due to these exceptions, we cannot say that the rule that white is always the required color is a strict rule. However, the exceptions are always in the context of another liturgical act being in some way combined with exposition or Benediction.

In the case mentioned by our reader, if solemn lauds or vespers were to immediately follow exposition, then it could be an option to expose in a cope of a different color than white.

If this is not the case, then it would not be correct to use stoles or copes of any color other than white for the moment of exposition and Benediction.

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