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The World Seen From Rome
Updated: 5 hours 48 min ago

Rabbi Joseph Levi Explains What Is ‘at Base of Jewish Humanism’

9 hours 4 min ago

“At the base of 19th century humanism is confidence in the divine dimension of the human spirit and its theological substratum that, according to Judaism, is present in every human spirit,” explained Rabbi Levi on the occasion of his conference last August 8, at the “Tonalestate” Meeting (August 7-10, 2017), which takes place every year in the Italian Alps, at Ponte di Legno and Col du Tonale, between Brescia and Trente.

A meeting that witnessed the participation of Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue; Dalil Boubakeur, Rector of the Paris Mosque, whose interventions L’Osservatore Romano published in Italian, and Jean Tonglet of ATD-Quart Monde.

Here is our translation of extracts of the intervention of Joseph Levi, former Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community of Florence, and entitled “The Dialogue between God and Abraham: Model for a Pact of Growth and Confidence between God and Humanity,” which was published by L’Osservatore Romano in Italian on August 11, 2017.  

At the Base of Jewish Humanism

In one of his last publications, Levi-Strauss, prophet of the universal structure of revelations and of particular cultural and anthropological structures, confesses that he became even nor skeptical about its structural universalism after having seen the use made of his theories to legitimize the strangest particularisms to his vision however universalist. How could Abraham, and how can we make universal morality and particular morality correspond? And what measures and what philosophic, religious and scientific means do we have at our disposition to be able to have one and the other vision coexist and be legitimate? In the name of a universal morality and revelation, the West has eliminated whole particular populations and today, in different parts of the world, religious revelations justify crimes against the West and against humanity, including archaeological testimonies of ancient civilizations. What should be the role of reason and how can we make it be convincing? — a real and revealing voice capable of guiding the choices of the concrete application of the strongest religious revelations. In inter-religious meetings such as ours, are we up to developing a shared direction through which to serve as mediator or downright converse and address our relation with the divine?

Auerbach explains to us that all the tension created by the text that we hear as readers that accompany Abraham and Isaac in their desperate voyage shared between confidence in a God close to man, with whom He concluded a covenant, and the terrible episode of the trial, was constructed to enounce with greater rhetoric force  the merciful character of the God of Abraham and of the Bible, God who criticizes and rejects the human sacrifices effected at that time and in those regions as an acceptable cultural practice. The God of the Bible calls for absolute confidence and devotion but responds to this confidence by a mutual pact of confidence in man, Abraham, representing the whole of humanity. It will be God’s confidence in man that will make a universal morality of respect for all human life created by God grow and develop in him.

Applying the emotional dimension of universal reason, the divine character of man himself shines even more. This biblical message and this biblical anthropology are interpreted by the Midrash in a complicated relation of respect and envy between Adam and the Angels who cannot be impeded from bearing respect for man who contains the divine image in himself. And who, when they see him walk, the Midrash tells us, bow before him as if he were the divinity itself that presents itself.

Such an awareness of man’s divine dimension will then be at the base of Jewish humanism developed by post-Kantian Jewish thought. Man, his spirit and his potential structure contain in themselves this universal divine dimension capable of reasoning and of finding a universal morality and way of reasoning. The same myth of the divine image contained in created man will be at the base of successive developments of theology and of Christological anthropology. Found at the base of 19th century humanism is confidence in the divine dimension of the human spirit and of its theological substratum that, according to Judaism, is present in every human spirit and not only in the unique and symbolic spirit of Christ.

This profound confidence between God the Creator of man of the Hebrew Bible and humanity is also exemplified and enounced through another episode of Abraham’s life, the unexpected conversation with God regarding the future destruction of Sodom as punishment for the lack of humanity of its inhabitants, especially in their social relations and their hostile and cruel behaviour towards strangers. In a long conversation, Abraham and God discuss the terms of justice and of wisdom, divine and human, on the question of making the righteous die with the evildoers. In this debate, I wish to see the opening of a new dimension, a new Epistemology and Theology on the relation between divine morality and human morality, enormous and fundamental chapter on the reciprocity of  faith and of the pact between the God of the universe and man. Abraham, as representative of humanity, becomes the interlocutor of the divine, including in the domain of justice and of morality, leading the divinity itself to be confronted with man’s perception of justice, not only as form and image, but also and above all in its contents. Man, ally of the divine, also has the right to speak and reflect on morality, if not on religious morality, at least on civic morality. On the other hand, it is the divine itself that invites man to enter into dialogue on justice. The righteous man, faithful to God, such as Abraham, enjoys divine confidence to the point  that his reasoning and his mental faculties are also recognized as being in the measure to be confronted with divine reason on social, civic and, perhaps with due humility and submission, divine justice, a problem that the Bible presents to us through Job, another humble and faithful figure.

Hence, not only obedience, fidelity and submission but also confidence in the human spirit, created in the divine image as being able to reason in an autonomous manner and to offer its own arguments in a dialogue with the divine. An episode that should engage us and go beyond details, with an invitation to rewrite and describe the Epistemology and the Ontology of the conversation with man and the divine, including in regard to the many tragedies of humanity. From this neo-Midrashic reading the elements could be born  for a biblical neo-humanism, based on the immense confidence of the divinity in the reasoning of a faithful and devout person that, thanks to his awareness of the presence of the divine image in his own spirit, is recognized as a possible  interlocutor with God the Creator, Judge of the universe. Such mutual recognition and legitimation makes the pact and confidence between God and man grow and it can become a model of judgment on the divine revelations that can and must guide us in the difficult continual effort of perceiving and interpreting the divine will and justice. To make one’s own awareness grow means making one ‘s own suffering grow — a positive human suffering from which morality and reason are born.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s New Book “Presence and Action of God Communion,” Published by Parole et Silence

9 hours 17 min ago

After his book “Family, Become What You Are,” which invited every family to follow the momentum of Amoris Laetitia, becoming ever more a cell of the Church, a shrine of Love, a school of the Gospel and of human values, in his latest book “Presence and Action of God Communion (published by Parole et Silence) Cardinal Marc Ouellet proposes this time further reflection on the intrinsic bond between communion and mission at the heart of the Church, explains a note of the publisher.

Under the vigorous impulsion of Pope Francis, a new springtime of the mission resurfaces in the Church 50 years after the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, under the sign of mercy, of love of the poor and of Synodal ecclesiology.

These strong accents give the impression of a great novelty and yet, however, for one who is able to read the signs of the times, they emerge in profound continuity with the previous pontificates of Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Beginning from a more profound rereading of the Council’s prophetic dimension, which appears especially in what God wishes to express of His mystery in this veritable Pentecost for the mission in the new millennium.

His prophetic discourse seems to pivot around the “mystery of communion,” which emanates from the testimony of Jesus Christ and that the Holy Spirit offers in participation to the Church in view of the salvation of the whole of humanity. This universal Trinitarian design is then deployed as a presence and a divine-human action that constitutes the fundamental theme running through all the conciliar texts and furnishing the key of their correct hermeneutics. Beyond ideological interpretations that propagate a prophetic role to human views, isn’t it necessary to revisit the prophetic role of the Council and allow oneself to be drawn by the Spirit in the testimony of God Communion that engages all the auditors of the Word and consequent thoughts and actions at the heart of the present history?

Pronounced in different circumstances according to the questions, the following commentaries of fundamental documents of the Council intend to help the reader to understand better the prophetic dimension of Francis’ Pontificate in the light of Vatican Council II, which is a privileged expression of the Christian Tradition at our time.

Francis’ reforming daring concerns not only the functioning and administration of the Roman Curia but above all the promotion of episcopal collegiality, in a spirit of synodality and “healthy decentralization” (EG, 16). It is accompanied by incisive gestures and words that return constantly to the themes of mercy, concern for the poor, fraternity and dialogue, having great ecumenical impact.

Extract of the Book 

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Presence and Action of God Communion. At the Heart of Vatican Council II, Parole et Silence Publishing House, 2017, pp. 7-8.

The Challenge of the New Times: To Evangelize by Attraction

 Francis is the first to be on the go, pouncing on opportunities, cheerfully breaking habits. greeting warmly the greatest possible number during audiences, establishing dialogue with estranged or critical people, privileging the poor and the suffering, leading Bishops, priests and deacons to flee from all “spiritual worldliness,” cultivating unheard of and informal contacts with little ones without neglecting, however, the great of this world pressing at his door.

Francis began the reform of the Church, her missionary conversion, by a reform of the papacy. Who would have dared such a thing after the Beatification and Canonization of three Popes of the Council, and the great magisterium, amply recognized, of Benedict XVI? Who would dare such a thing other than the Holy Spirit who certainly wants to re-launch the great missionary adventure of the origins and of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council? (pp. 149-150).

Holy Father Saddened by Mudslides in Freetown, Sierra Leone

12 hours 39 min ago

Pope Francis has sent his condolences August 16, 2017 to the loved ones of the victims of the floods and tragic mudslide early August 14 in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown.  More than 300 have been reported killed, but the number is expected to rise.

The Holy Father reminded the faithful after yesterday’s Angelus of the importance of trusting in Mary during times of trouble:

“I wish to entrust once again to Mary Queen of Peace, whom we contemplate today in the glory of Paradise, the anxieties and sorrows of the populations that in so many parts of the world suffer from natural disasters, from social tensions and from conflicts. May our celestial Mother obtain for all consolation and a future of serenity and concord!”

Below is the Vatican-provided text of his message, sent on behalf of the Pope from Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to Archbishop Charles Edward Tamba of Freetown:

***

The Right Reverend Charles Edward Tamba
Archbishop of Freetown

Deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of the mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, His Holiness Pope Francis assures those who have lost loved ones of his closeness at this difficult time. He prays for all who have died, and upon their grieving families and friends he invokes the divine blessings of strength and consolation. His Holiness likewise expresses his prayerful solidarity with the rescue workers and all involved in providing the much needed relief and support to the victims of this disaster.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

[Original text: English] [Vatican-provided text]

 

Research Project Honors Martyrs of El Salvador

13 hours 56 min ago

Last March, the bishops of El Salvador made their ad limina visit to the Vatican and spent nearly two hours meeting with Pope Francis. There is no date set yet for the canonization of El Salvador’s most famous martyr Blessed Óscar Romero, who served as archbishop of San Salvador. However, Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador told reporters after the meeting that the Pope had told the prelates that “it would be very good if the places associated with Romero — his relics, the place where he was killed and where he was born — would become places of pilgrimage.” It would seem that sainthood for the defender of the poor cannot be far off.

The archbishop was one among many martyrs who died during
El Salvador’s brutal civil war. International papal charity Aid to the Church in Need reports here on a research project that they are doing to “honor and document their supreme sacrifice.”

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Research project honors the martyrs of El Salvador

By Mónica Zorita

“WHEN someone sacrificed his life for something, then it is worth asking why he did so.” That statement by Franciscan Father Tomás Ciaran O’Nuanain, an Irish missionary in El Salvador, goes to the heart of the mission of the newly-established Office of Lay Martyrs of the Church in El Salvador. Its task will be to pay tribute to those who were murdered during the country’s bloody civil war (1980-1992) and to recognize the victims as martyrs for the faith.

The smallest country in Latin America has an extensive catalogue of martyrs. Foremost is Blessed Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero, who was murdered in 1980 while saying Mass. At his beatification May 23, 2015, Pope Francis said the archbishop “paid particular attention to the poor and the marginalized. He knew how to lead, defend and protect his flock, remaining faithful to the Gospel in communion with the whole Church.”

During the conflict, when troops of the extreme right government fought leftist insurgents, all the warring parties committed war crimes. There was oppression and injustice across the board. For example, labor unions were banned and “it was dangerous to support farmers,” Father O’Nuanain told international papal charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

He continued: “the clergy was completely divided. It was very sad because many politicized the Gospel. A strong minority supported Bishop Romero and his fight for farmers’ rights. But another strong minority opposed this stance. Still others did not take a clear stance. But all of us who fought for the dignity of the poor were threatened and persecuted. I just did not want to be tortured before I died.”

The missionary is coordinating the research project, which is entitled “Witnesses of the Gospel.” So far, five books have already been published, with another nine in the works—each one documenting the story of martyrs in a different province of the country. “Looking back on and reappraising the past, we want to pay tribute to and honor the martyrs,” said the 73-year-old Franciscan.

The project has already compiled more than 800 testimonies from relatives or friends of those who were murdered. An example is the story of Noé Arsenio Portillo López, a 22-year-old catechist who was kidnapped, leaving Mass. He was tortured for three days. “His limbs were severed from his body one after the other, before he finally was decapitated;” thus is his fate recorded.

ACN has been helping to fund the project. Marco Mencaglia, who oversees ACN grants for Church projects in El Salvador, said that the goal is “reappraise history, far away from all resentment. We would like to promote a real peace. We stand with the Church of El Salvador in showing that the simple and silent act of bearing witness of by thousands of believers is far stronger than the terrible violence they suffered.”

***

Aid to the Church in Need is an international papal charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA);www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)

Pope Sends Condolences for Sierra Leone Mudslide

14 hours 11 min ago

Pope Francis has sent his condolences to the loved ones of the victims of the floods and tragic mudslide in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown, which claimed the lives of more than 200 people. Below is the Vatican-provided text of his message:

***

The Right Reverend Charles Edward Tamba
Archbishop of Freetown

Deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of the mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, His Holiness Pope Francis assures those who have lost loved ones of his closeness at this difficult time. He prays for all who have died, and upon their grieving families and friends he invokes the divine blessings of strength and consolation. His Holiness likewise expresses his prayerful solidarity with the rescue workers and all involved in providing the much needed relief and support to the victims of this disaster.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

[Original text: English] [Vatican-provided text]

Vatican to Host Workshop on Health of People and Planet

19 hours 59 min ago

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) will host a workshop November 2-4, 2017 to discuss the relationship between climate change, pollution and people.  The event will take place at The Academy’s headquarters are in the Casina Pio IV, in Vatican City.

According to the Academy website: “We are assembling a meeting of global thought leaders in all these areas, with emphasis on human health to consider the latest evidence and make recommendations to be submitted directly to Pope Francis and other world leaders for further actions. Experts spanning medicine, public health, air pollution, marine pollution, climate change, food and water security, ecology, species extinction, renewable energy, and policy should be included. The first two days will be devoted to a detailed assessment of the health of people and the ecosystem. We will document and diagnose the health impacts of fossil fuel combustion and the resulting climate change. The final day of the meeting will be devoted to seeking solutions and will end with a call for actions by policy makers and political leaders.”

The November session will build on the findings from a similar meeting in 2015, stated in the document Climate Change and the Common Good.  That meeting reached the following conclusion:

“This century is on course to witness unprecedented environmental changes. In particular, the projected climate changes or, more appropriately, climate disruptions, when coupled with ongoing massive species extinctions and the destruction of ecosystems, will doubtless leave their indelible marks on both humanity and nature. As early as 2100, there will be a non-negligible probability of irreversible and catastrophic climate impacts that may last over thousands of years, raising the existential question of whether civilization as we know it can be extended beyond this century. Only a radical change in our attitude towards Creation and towards our fellow humans, complemented by transformative technological innovations, could reverse the dangerous trends that have already been set into motion inadvertently.”

The meeting will discuss social justice and ethical issues as urged by Pope Francis in the encyclical Laudato si’:

“We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

‘Value the Best That Reason Can Offer,’ Says Cardinal Parolin

20 hours 52 min ago

 

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has encouraged reflecting upon reason, and “the best that reason has to offer.”

The Vatican Secretary of State expressed this in a telegram to Maria Paola Azzali, president of the Tonalestate Association, on the occasion of the International Congress on Inter-cultural Dialogue, at the summer university “Tonalestate” (August 7-10, 2017), which takes place every year in the Italian Alps, at Ponte di Legno and at Col du Tonale, between Brescia and Trente.

It was a meeting in which Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Joseph Levi, former chief rabbi of Florence; Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Paris Mosque participated and whose interventions L’Osservatore Romano published in Italian.

Here is a translation of Cardinal Parolin’s message.

Cardinal Parolin’s Telegram

Unable to be personally present at the Tonalestate cultural event, dedicated this year to a reflection on “reason,” I wish to express to you, Madam President, as well as to each of the participants my warmest greeting and wishes that this meeting be the occasion of a profitable exchange of experiences and opinion on the theme – that of reason – which has engaged spirits and hearts from the first moments when man began to reflect on himself and his destiny. Lines of philosophers and theologians tried to weigh the characteristics, the possibilities and the limits of reason, which distinguishes the human being from all other living creatures.

When gravely skewed visions on the possibilities and intrinsic limitations of reason prevailed, or through an excessive exaltation of the first or vice versa, ignoring its capacity to attain and know reality, these errors of culture, which were obscured, were poured on the entire society, producing grave imbalances and what some have described as the sleep of reason, with dramatic results.

A believing reflection, desires to value to the best what reason is able to offer, recognizing its high properties and at the same time recognizing that Revelation assigns to it a new datum to seek to know, opening it to receive and to probe a form of knowing that doesn’t contradict or deny it, but that exceeds it.

It is my heartfelt hope that your meeting will be able to make a fruitful contribution in order to clarify the importance of having a conception of reason corresponding, as much as possible, to its veritable potentialities and with these sentiments, I address my benevolent thoughts to the organizers, to the interveners and to all the persons present, invoking upon each lofty divine blessings. 

 

Academy for Life: Pope Appoints 5 New Members

21 hours 1 min ago

Five new members from four nationalities (Japan, Argentina, Spain, Italy), three laypeople and two clerics, were appointed by Pope Francis to the Governing Council of the Pontifical Academy for Life on Saturday, 5 August 2017. They are:

Prof. Etsuko Akiba, professor of law at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Toyama (Japan).

Dr. Mónica López Barahona, General Academic Director of the Biosciences Studies Centre, president of the Spanish Delegation of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation and director of the Foundation’s Jérôme Lejeune Chair of Bioethics, Madrid (Spain).

Prof. Adriano Pessina, professor of moral philosophy and director of the Athenaeum Centre for Bioethics of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan (Italy).

Bishop Carlos Simón Vázquez, delegate for the Family and Life Section of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. (Spain).

Bishop Alberto Germán Bochatey, auxiliary of La Plata, professor of bioethics and vice chancellor of the Catholic University of La Plata (Argentina)

The Pontifical Academy for Life adopted new statutes in January of this year, signed by Pope Francisco in December 2016, valid for five years. In June 2017, the Holy Father appointed 45 new ordinary members and 5 honorary members of the Pontifical Academy for Life.   In July 2017, The Governing Council of PAS appointed 89 Corresponding Members and 13 Young Researchers of the Academy.

The Academy is headed by Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, former President of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family at the Pontifical Lateran University.

Iraqi Christians Are Racing Against Time

21 hours 12 min ago

If Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump are ever going to make common cause regarding the “protection of Christian communities in the Middle East”—a topic the two men discussed in their May meeting—the time is now. Many thousands of Christian families, stranded in Kurdistan, long to return to their homes and communities on the Nineveh Plains, newly liberated from the grip of ISIS. However, Church-based agencies alone cannot muster the logistics and major funding that are needed for the reconstruction of the nine Christian towns and villages and the guarantee of the security of its residents. This is the time the two leaders can work together and accomplish a major feat: the survival of Christianity in Iraq. Aid to the Church in Need reports.

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Iraqi Christians are racing against time

If they don’t soon reclaim their homes on the Nineveh Plains, Christianity in Iraq will be at grave risk

By Joop Koopman

BEFORE ISIS swept across the Nineveh Plains in the summer of 2014, driving more than 100,000 Christians into exile in Kurdistan, some 5,000 Syriac-Catholic families made their homes on ancient ancestral land in the town of Qaraqosh.

More than half of those families have school-age children, and international agencies have repaired a significant amount of the damage done to schools during the ISIS occupation. Schools are ready to welcome students to the new academic year. But the great challenge is that many of the families’ homes still await repair or rebuilding. To-date, only 600 out of the 5000 families ousted from Qaraqosh have been able to move back into their homes in Qaraqosh.

Syriac-Catholic Father Georges Jahola, who represents his Church on the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee (NRC) and oversees reconstruction work in Qaraqosh, put it bluntly: “if their homes are not ready for families to move back in by September and the start of the school year, many of the Christians might well decide to go elsewhere—this time leaving Iraq for good.”

The enormous challenge at-hand prompted ACN to establish the Committee, which is comprised of six members representing the three main Churches whose faithful have roots on the Nineveh Plains: the Syriac-Catholic Church, the Syriac-Orthodox Church, and the Chaldean Church joining forces in an historic first. Funds raised by the committee will be distributed according to the needs of each of the particular communities.

ACN Has funded the repair of close to 160 home to-date. Overall numbers remain dangerously low; for example, in the town of Bartella, just 24 Syriac-Orthodox families have returned to their former homes, while more than 600 families have not been able or willing to make the move back to that community yet. Bartella was home to 3400 families before the community was captured by ISIS, who proceeded to completely destroy 90 of the homes, while another 360 houses suffered severe fire damage and 1300 residences need various significant repairs.

Not that there isn’t optimism and passion on the part of many Christians. Nohe Ishaq Sliman, who just returned to his home in Bartella, said “this is our city, our life, our history. In Kurdistan, we were confronted with very tough economic conditions; food and rent there are very expensive and I can no longer afford that cost while I have a home that I own here. I urge all families from Bartella to come home again.” He continued: “I have drunk the water from the Tigris and worked here as a farmer. I built this house myself. How can I abandon it?”

Still, close to 13,000 homes across the Nineveh Plains remain to be repaired or rebuilt, not to mention the major work that needs to be done throughout the region to restore the water and electricity supply. The Nineveh Reconstruction Committee has carefully assessed damages across the board and estimates that the repair and rebuilding of private homes alone requires some $250M in funding.

In addition, there are close to 350 churches and Church properties—schools, convents, cemeteries—that require varying degrees of repair, rebuilding and refurbishing. In addition, there are 140 public properties—primarily schools but also several hospitals—that require significant investment to become fully functional again. Meanwhile, some 90,000 Christians are still living in make-shift conditions as IDPs in Kurdistan, a state of limbo that has lasted three years. ACN alone has spent more than $35M in humanitarian aid for the IDPs there since the summer of 2014, and obviously that flow of aid must somehow continue until the resettlement of the Nineveh Plains is complete.

Beyond the work of reconstruction on the Plains there are significant security concerns. ISIS may be largely ousted from Iraq, but Sunni-Shiite tension remains and may burst into renewed violence, putting Christians and other minorities in harm’s way once again. There is also the risk that Baghdad and Kurdistan may clash on the Nineveh Plains if the Kurdish Regional Government declares its dependence and secedes from Iraq.

With the end of summer in sight, schools on the Nineveh Plains beckon families and their children as does the prospect of new life marked by peace and stability. However, Western powers must make a major contribution to make the Christians’ hopes a reality.

“Christians and other religious minorities count on the Western governments—and the US in particular,” ACNUSA Chairman George Marlin wrote last week for the National Review Online (Aug. 2, 2017), “not only to help fund the reconstruction of the Nineveh Plains but also to use their powers and influence to get both Baghdad and Kurdistan to guarantee the security of all minorities and to ensure their equality of citizenship, including their property rights and freedom of worship.”

Failing that, a dark history will repeat itself. “The West must act now,” Marlin insisted, adding: “For if a significant number of Christians does not return to the Nineveh Plains very soon, and the power vacuum persists into 2018, the hopes for an enduring renaissance of Christianity in Iraq may be dashed forever.”

To-date ACN has spent approximately $620,000 on the reconstruction of Christian family homes in eight towns on the Nineveh plains, as well as the repair and refurnishing of a convent of Dominican Sisters in Qaraqosh and the reconstruction of St. George’s Church serving Chaldean faithful in the town of Teleskuf. Meanwhile, ACN is spending some $1M to pay rent for IDP families remaining in Erbil from July through September 2017, plus an additional $700,000 on food aid for the families, covering their needs through August 2017.

Joop Koopman is communications director for Aid to the Church in Need-USA, an international papal charity supporting persecuted and suffering Christians around the world.

***

Aid to the Church in Need is an international papal charity, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org(AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)

 

‘Mary Leads Us On Our Pilgrimage of Life and Faith’

08/15/2017 - 9:44am

Mary, the ‘1st disciple,’ gave us the greatest gift, and she leads us on our pilgrimage our life and faith.

Francis stressed this during his Angelus address today at noon to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Today, Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Gospel presents to us the young woman of Nazareth that, having received the Angel’s announcement, left in haste to be close to Elizabeth, in the last months of her miraculous pregnancy.

The greatest gift that Mary brings to Elizabeth, and to the world, Francis exclaimed, is Jesus. Jesus took human flesh from the Virgin for His mission of salvation.

In the home of Elizabeth and Zachariah, where sadness reigned before because of the lack of children, the Pope said, “now there is the joy of a baby about to arrive: a baby that will become the great John the Baptist.”

“When Mary arrives, joy overflows and bursts from hearts, because Jesus’ invisible but real presence fills everything with meaning: life, the family, the salvation of the people . . . everything!”

This joy, the Pope said, is expressed with Mary’s Magnificat, her song of praise to God.

Francis reminded those present of the great things that God wrought with humble persons, stressing humility “is like an emptiness that gives place to God.” Through humble persons, “unknown to the world,” like Mary, Joseph, and their home in Nazareth, God has worked wonders, the Holy Father observed.

‘I would like to ask you – and also myself – but don’t answer in a loud voice: each one answer in his heart: “how is my humility?”

The Joy She Brings Us

Celebrating Mary Most Holy Assumed into Heaven, we would like Her, once again, to bring to us, to our families, to our communities, that immense gift, that unique grace, that we must always ask for first of all and above all other graces, which we also have at heart: the grace that is Jesus Christ!

By bringing Jesus, Our Lady brings to us also a new joy, full of meaning.

She brings to us a new capacity to go through painful and difficult moments with faith; She brings us the capacity of mercy, to forgive one another, to understand each other, to support one another.

Mary is model of virtue and faith.

The 1st Disciple, to Help Us Be Saints

“In contemplating Her today, assumed into Heaven, in the final fulfilment of Her earthly itinerary, we thank Her because she always goes before us in our pilgrimage of life and of faith,” said Francis, stressing: “She is the first disciple.” 

He then prayed she protect and support us, “so that we may have a strong, joyful and merciful faith,” and “that She help us to be saints, to meet with Her one day in Paradise.”

After the midday prayer, Pope Francis entrusted to Mary Queen of Peace, “the anxieties and sorrows of the populations that in so many parts of the world suffer from natural disasters, from social tensions and from conflicts.

“May our celestial Mother obtain for all consolation and a future of serenity and harmony!”

***

On Zenit’s web page:

Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-on-the-feast-of-the-assumption-3/

 

ANGELUS: On the Feast of the Assumption

08/15/2017 - 8:56am

Below is a translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Angelus prayer today at noon to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

* * *

Before the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Gospel presents to us the young woman of Nazareth that, having received the Angel’s announcement, left in haste to be close to Elizabeth, in the last months of her miraculous pregnancy. Arriving at her home, Mary receives from her mouth the words that came to form the “Hail Mary” prayer: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:42). In fact, the greatest gift that Mary brings to Elizabeth – and to the whole world – is Jesus, who now lives in her; and lives not only by faith and expectation, as in so many women of the Old Testament: Jesus took human flesh from the Virgin for His mission of salvation.

In Elizabeth’s home, and that of her husband Zachariah, where sadness reigned before because of the lack of children, now there is the joy of a baby about to arrive: a baby that will become the great John the Baptist, Precursor of the Messiah. And when Mary arrives, joy overflows and bursts from hearts, because Jesus’ invisible but real presence fills everything with meaning: life, the family, the salvation of the people . . . everything! This full joy is expressed with Mary’s voice in the stupendous prayer that Luke’s Gospel has transmitted to us and that is called Magnificat, from the first Latin word. It is a song of praise to God who does great things through humble persons, unknown to the world, as Mary herself was and her husband Joseph, and as Nazareth, the place where they lived was also. The great things that God has wrought with humble persons, the great things the Lord does in the world with the humble, because humility is like an emptiness that gives place to God. The humble is powerful because he is humble, not because he is strong. And this is the grandeur of the humble and of humility. I would like to ask you – and also myself – but don’t answer in a loud voice: each one answer in his heart: “how is my humility doing?”

The Magnificat sings to the merciful and faithful God, Who fulfils His plan of salvation with the little ones and the poor, with those that have faith in Him, that trust His Word, as Mary did. See Elizabeth’s exclamation: “Blessed is she who believed” (Luke 1:45). In that home, Jesus’ coming through Mary not only created an atmosphere of joy and fraternal communion, but also an atmosphere of faith that leads to hope, to prayer to praise.

We would like all this to happen on our homes today. Celebrating Mary Most Holy Assumed into Heaven, we would like Her, once again, to bring to us, to our families, to our communities, that immense gift, that unique grace, that we must always ask for first of all and above all other graces, which we also have at heart: the grace that is Jesus Christ!

By bringing Jesus, Our Lady brings to us also a new joy, full of meaning. She brings to us a new capacity to go through painful and difficult moments with faith; She brings us the capacity of mercy, to forgive one another, to understand each other, to support one another.

Mary is model of virtue and faith. In contemplating Her today assumed into Heaven, in the final fulfilment of Her earthly itinerary, we thank Her because she always goes before us in our pilgrimage of life and of faith – She is the first disciple. And we ask Her to protect and support us, that we may have a strong, joyful and merciful faith; that She help us to be saints, to meet with Her one day in Paradise.

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

After the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I wish to entrust once again to Mary Queen of Peace, whom we contemplate today in the glory of Paradise, the anxieties and sorrows of the populations that in so many parts of the world suffer from natural disasters, from social tensions and from conflicts. May our celestial Mother obtain for all consolation and a future of serenity and concord!

I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims from various countries! In particular, I greet the young people of Mira (Venice) and the Don Bosco Association of Noci. And I also greet . . . I see Spanish and Polish flags. Happy feast!

I thank you for having come. I wish you a happy feast of Our Lady Assunta and, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

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

Mozambique: “Scholas” Educational Experience Arrives in Africa

08/15/2017 - 3:36am

The “Scholas Occurrentes” educational experience, launched under the auspices of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires and now promoted by Pope Francis, has just arrived in Mozambique, first African country where young people can experience the methods of “Scholas”, under the form of “Scholas Citizenship,” an event echoed by the Vatican’s media.

It will be at “Missao Mangunze” that, over a week, some 180 young people of different schools of Mangunze, Manjacaze, Chongoene and Xai Xai will gather to work together on the problems that worry them most: drug use, sexual relations, and school absenteeism.

They are accompanied by an international “Scholas” team and 30 local volunteers formed months previously with the “Scholas” methodolgy in Argentina.

The students presented their conclusions and proposals to the school and civil authorities, one being a representative of the government and the other the parish priest, Father Juan Gabriel Arias.

One of the problems addressed was the distance to arrive at school: 5 to 10 kilometers there and back. They hope that school transport will be established and also a better quality of teaching, of formation of teachers, the disappearance of discrimination on the latter’s part and equipment. They also lamented the “gender” violence.

They highlighted the problem of traffickers selling alcohol and drugs to minors in school surroundings, and questioned the authorities on respect for the law.

The teachers themselves welcomed the initiative, in the perspective of what Pope Francis says: if one wants to change the reality, one must begin by changing the education.

Today “Scholas Occurrentes” is an international organization of pontifical right, present in 190 countries, which boasts a network of more than 446,000 schools.

Its mission is to promote the integration of all pupils worldwide thanks to technological, sports, and artistic proposals envisioning an education to the culture of encounter.

The initiative was born at Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2001, when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the Archbishop, under the name of “Neighbors’ Schools and “Sister Schools,” made up of pupils of public and private schools, of all religions, in order to educate young people to be committed to the common good.

It’s a non-profit international organization, promoted by Pope Francis to “re-establish the educational pact,” with the cooperation of actors of society in view of a “culture of encounter for peace thanks to education.”

El Salvador: False News on Facebook About Papal Trip

08/14/2017 - 6:34pm

Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez said he didn’t post a message on Facebook on August 13, 2017 claiming that Pope Francis told him he would come to El Salvador for the possible canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero.

Card. Rosa Chavez was made El Salvador’s first cardinal by Pope Francis on June 28, 2017, at the age of 74. He serves as Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador. He was an assistant to Bl. Oscar Romero and remained his friend until the archbishop’s assassination March 24, 1980, at the age of 62

August 15, 2017 will be the centenary of the birth of Bl. Romero on August 15, 1917 in Ciudad Barrios (El Salvador). He was beatified on May 23, 2015 in San Savador.

Canonization requires the authentication of a miracle due to his intercession. A miracle is currently being examined in Rome, announced earlier this year by the postulator of his cause for Sainthood, Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, as reported in the Italian Catholic daily Avvenire.

This case involved the cure of a Salvadoran mother, Cecilia Maribel Flores de Rivas, who was in the seventh month of pregnancy, and who risked dying and losing the baby as a result of complications. Although doctors could not determine a medical explanation, she was cured after invoking the intercession of Bl. Oscar Romero.

New Nuncio in Panama: Archbishop Mirosław Adamczyk

08/14/2017 - 6:31pm

Last Saturday, August 12, 2017, Pope Francis appointed the new Apostolic Nuncio in Panama, Archbishop Mirosław Adamczyk, 55.  He is a native of Gdansk, Poland, a veteran diplomat and has served as nuncio since 2013 in Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

Archbishop Adamczyk succeeds Archbishop Andrés Carrascosa Coso, who was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Ecuador, June 22, 2017.

World Youth Day will be held in Panama from January 22 to 27, 2019. According to custom, Pope Francis announced Panama’s selection at the end of the Closing Mass of the 31st WYD, in Cracow (Poland).  More than a million young pilgrims attended.

The main events in 2019 will take place in Cinta Costera Uno, the Panama City park on the Pacific Ocean.  The nuncio will be an important participant, working with the Bishops of Panama.

Trust in God Without Doubting, Insists Pope at Angelus

08/14/2017 - 10:31am

We are to trust God, without doubting him, even if we are scared…

During his Sunday Angelus address, the Pope made this point to the faithful in a hot St. Peter’s Square, as he reflected on the Gospel episode in which Jesus walked on water, on the Lake of Galilee, and Peter, who wished to reach Him, risked drowning.

“At that moment, the certain word of Jesus, which was like a ‘tightrope’ to grip to face the hostile and turbulent water, wasn’t enough for Peter.”

“It’s what could happen to us,” Pope Francis noted, saying: “When we do not cling to the Lord’s word, and, instead consult horoscopes and fortune-tellers to have more security, we begin to go down [to sink].”

If this happens, it means our faith isn’t very strong, the Pope said, warning that horoscopes, ideologies, fashions, slogans are all “insecure” ‘boats,’ offering no certainty.

The Hand that Grips Us, How We Surpass the Storms

“Faith,” however, the Holy Father pointed out, “gives us the security of a Presence, the Presence of Jesus, who pushes us to surpass the existential storms, the certainty of a hand that grips us to help us face the difficulties, pointing out the way also when it’s dark.”

Today’s Gospel, he said, reminds us that faith in the Lord and in His word doesn’t open a way where everything is easy and tranquil and doesn’t take us from life’s storms, but gives us the way to get through them.

While recognizing that faith is not an easy way out of life’s problems, the Holy Father stressed that it “supports us on our journey and gives it meaning.”

Francis invited all pilgrims to turn to that which offers full certainty: faith in Jesus.

“How beautiful it is,” Francis observed, “to say this word to Jesus: ‘Truly you are the Son of God!’ Shall we all say it together? ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”

As usual, Pope Francis concluded, telling those present to have a good Sunday and good lunch.

***

On Zenit’s Web page:

Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-address-on-the-importance-of-solid-faith/

Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam Is Appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Myanmar

08/14/2017 - 10:13am

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, presently Apostolic Nuncio in Thailand and Cambodia and Apostolic Delegate in Laos, as Apostolic Nuncio in Myanmar (Burma). Previously, he was Apostolic Delegate in Myanmar.

On March 10, 2017, Myanmar’s Parliament agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations with seven States, one of which was the Vatican.

The Vatican’s proposal was presented last February 8. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Rangoon, the then Apostolic Delegate in Myanmar, Monsignor Paul Tsang In-Nam, and Father Murice Nyunt Wai, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference, were the protagonists of this “historic” agreement.

The Parliament of the Republic of Myanmar approved by “unanimity” the Vatican’s proposal to establish diplomatic relations. The news was broadcasted on the State Television on March 10, and published on March 11 by the “Mirror,” the government’s official press organ.

Monsignor Paul Tsang In-Nam himself presented the Vatican’s proposal on February 8, 2017 to the State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Under the leadership of Cardinal Charles Bo, premier Cardinal of Myanmar, Monsignor Tsang In-Nam met Aung San Suu Kyi officially in her residence of Nay Pyi Taw, the administrative capital. Father Maurice Nyunt Wai also attended the meeting.

Pope Francis received Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi twice in the Vatican, first on October 28, 2013 and then on May 4, 2017. The second meeting marked the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

The October 28, 2013 audience highlighted the “great attunement” between the Holy Father and “this symbolic figure in the Asian world.” Since then, her party, the National League for Democracy, has come to power.

Icon of the rights of man and of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, a prize she was only able to receive in 2012, and the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2013.

The appointment of the “Nuncio” ratifies the establishment of full diplomatic relations and it seems to be a stage in the preparation of a trip to the country by Pope Francis, observers in Rome believe, but at this stage, the Holy See has neither confirmed nor denied a possible trip.

According to the English agency “Union of Catholic Asia News,” Pope Francis, invited by President Htin Kyaw – a democrat close to Aung San Suu Kyi, President since March 30, 2016 – and by the Bishops, for the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Catholicism in Burma (2014), might go to the country the last week of November and spend four nights there — at Naypyidaw and Rangoon.

It would be the first visit of a Pope to that country.

To Be a Catechist Is a Mission, Says Archbishop Fisichella

08/14/2017 - 8:28am

The formation of catechists is not done “seated behind a desk: to be a catechist isn’t a role but a mission in the Church, ” said Monsignor Fisichella, as reported by the Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano on August 11, 2017.

The President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization presided over a Mass in Manila on July 27, on the occasion of the official presentation of the new National Association of Catechists of the Philippines (Nac-Phil), on the theme: “Catechists: Builders of Communion and of Renewed Artisans.” The new Association is geared first of all to the formation of catechists in the Philippines, with collaborations such as that of De La Salle University.

“Our service often leads us above all to identifying ourselves with the role we play in society,” noted Monsignor Rino Fisichella, so that catechists can also have “the temptation to see in their role work that calls for a recompense.”

The Gift of Life

In his homily, the Italian Archbishop stressed: “the role” has schedules, but the mission” calls for the gift of one’s whole of life.”

“When God enters the life of individuals, there is no alternative in face of His revelation. When God speaks it’s an appeal to faith as appropriate and coherent response,” and the faith “is reception of the mission that He entrusts to each one of us,” added Archbishop Fisichella.

In regard to formation, the Archbishop regretted that “sometimes” it is believed that “catechesis is an ensemble of practices to implement.”

“To think that formation consists in staying seated at a desk with an open book in one’s hands to prepare an exam or a lesson, means that one hasn’t understood the value of education,” he stressed.

For Archbishop Fisichella, on the contrary, the formation of the catechist consists first of all in a “return to taking in one’s hands the Word of God to make it become food of our existence.” “A living word, made up of proclamation, of ever more profound understanding of the original meaning, of a transmission that from generation to generation finds the most coherent and proper forms for each age.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Archbishop Fisichella quoted Benedict XVI’s Post-Synodal Exhortation on the Word of God, Verbum Domini, to remind that “formation has enabled many communities to give life to ‘schools of the Gospel,’ to ‘lectio divina’ and to ‘faith workshops,’ and so many other experiences of which recent history is rich, and the production of ‘catechism.’”

In fact, he made reference to the forthcoming 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum for the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As the Vatican II event recedes further and further chronologically in the course of the decades, the urgency of keeping its teaching alive grows exponentially” and today the Catechism, “translated into more than 70 languages,” “remains as a fruit of the Council.”

“Nothing is more dangerous “ than the rather widespread tendency to “justify the fact of being Christians independently of knowledge of the contents “ of the Catechism.

He quoted Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, “which represents a point of no return to verify the strong bond that keeps united catechesis and the evangelizing mission of the Church.”

Hence the importance of the “New Evangelization,” to “overcome a present difficulty in the different Churches – perhaps also in the Philippines – which often limits catechesis to sole preparation for the Sacraments,” he explained.

This way of seeing it “shows its limitations today,” he specified. If catechesis aims at reception of the Sacraments, it is evident that once the course for the Sacraments of Christian Initiation is finished further formation runs the risk of drifting.”

Instead the Archbishop advocated a “permanent formation” for believers, to present “the understanding of the Christian mystery in view of a coherent existence with what one believes.” He appealed for a catechumenate that renders evident the choice of the faith for a permanent intelligence and witness of the Christian life.”

Communal Dimension

Finally, Archbishop Fisichella stressed the “communal” aspect of catechesis: even a supportive study to this dimension of communion: “its ecclesial character belongs by nature to catechesis” and therefore it is good that catechesis “enables one to live directly the communal experience.” More than that, “the subject of catechesis” is the “Christian community” in as much as it is an “act of transmission of the faith.”

In his sense also, “the work of evangelization becomes a service that the community perceives as its responsibility”: No catechist exercises this ministry privately, but always within and in the name of the Church,” stressed Archbishop Fisichella, according to the same source.

Cardinal Parolin Makes Russia Trip Next Week

08/14/2017 - 7:30am

“At this historic moment, in which we witness an increase of tensions and conflicts in different parts of the world,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, says, “peace is a clear and imperative priority for Pope Francis and for me personally.” 

Cardinal Parolin has confirmed he will visit Moscow from August 20-24, 2017, to meet with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In an interview with Italian publication Corriere della Sera, the Vatican Secretary of State noted he will talk with President Vladimir Putin primarily about the search for “dialogue,” “peace” and the “common good,”

The present situation in the Middle East and Syria and in Ukraine, and the conflicts in other parts of the world, the prelate stressed, “are subject to the constant attention and concern of the Holy See.”

Therefore, he explained, “the necessity and urgency to seek peace and the way to pursue it, will certainly be one of the main topics of the conversations.” 

“The Church,” Cardinal Parolin stressed, “does not cease to remind all lawmakers of the planet not to put national interests, or at least particular interests, ahead the common good – not the law of force but the force of law – for the development of the whole man and of all men, and the harmony and cooperation between nations. And the method is always dialogue.”

While saying not to exclude the possibility of Pope Francis visiting Russia in the near future, Cardinal Parolin stated: “The purpose of my visit goes beyond the preparation of a possible visit of the Holy Father to Russia.”

“However,” he said, “I hope that, with God’s help, I can offer a contribution in this direction.”

Angelus Address: On the Importance of Solid Faith

08/14/2017 - 7:15am

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

*  * *

Before the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, the Gospel (Matthew 14:22-33) describes the episode of Jesus who, after having prayed all night on the shore of Lake Galilee, went towards His disciples’ boat, walking on the water. The boat was in the middle of the Lake, blocked by a strong adverse wind. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, the disciples thought he was a ghost and got scared. But He reassured them: “Take heart, it is I, have no fear!” (v. 27). Peter, with his usual intrepidity, said to Him: “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water”: and Jesus called him “Come!” (vv. 28-29). Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus; however, because of the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. Then he cried out: “Lord, save me!” and Jesus reached out His hand and caught him (vv. 30-31).

This story has a rich symbolism and it makes us reflect on our faith, be it as individuals, by it as ecclesial community, also the faith of all of us that are here today in the Square. Does the community, this ecclesial community, have faith? How is the faith of each one of us and the faith of our community? The boat is the life of each one of us and also the life of the Church. The adverse wind represents our difficulties and trials. Peter’s invocation: “Lord, bid me come to you!” and his cry: “Lord, save me!”, is so much like our desire to feel the Lord’s closeness, but also the fear and anguish that accompany the hardest moments of our life and of our communities, marked by internal fragility and external difficulties.

For Peter, at that moment, Jesus’ sure word wasn’t enough, which was like a tightrope that he could grip to face the hostile and turbulent water. It’s what can also happen to us. When one doesn’t grip the Lord’s word, <and>, to have greater security, one consults horoscopes and fortune-tellers, one begins to go down. It means that faith isn’t that strong. Today’s Gospel reminds us that faith in the Lord and in his word doesn’t open a way for us where everything is easy and tranquil; it doesn’t subtract us from life’s storms. Faith gives us the certainty of a Presence, the presence of Jesus that drives us to overcome the existential storms, the certainty of a hand that grips us to help us face the difficulties, pointing out the way to us also when it’s dark. In sum, faith isn’t an easy way out of life’s problems, but it supports us on the way and gives it meaning.

This episode is a stupendous image of the reality of the Church of all times: a boat that, along the crossing must also face adverse winds and storms, which threaten to sink it. What saves it is not the courage and quality of its men: the guarantee against shipwreck is faith in Christ and in His word. In this boat we are safe, despite our miseries and weaknesses, especially when we kneel and adore the Lord, like the disciples that, at the end, “prostrated themselves before Him, saying: “Truly you are the Son of God!” (v. 33). How beautiful it is to say this word to Jesus: “Truly you are the Son of God!” Shall we all say it together? “Truly you are the Son of God!”

May the Virgin Mary help us to remain firm in the faith to resist the storms of life, to stay in the boat of the Church, eschewing the temptation to go up on the spellbinding but insecure boats of ideologies, fashions and slogans.

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

After the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims present: families, parishes, Associations and individual faithful. Today I also have the joy of greeting some groups of young people: the scouts of Treviso and Vicenza, the participants in the National Congress of Franciscan Youth. Moreover, I greet the Sisters of the Mary Most Holy Addolorata of Naples and the group of pilgrims who came on foot from the Via Francigena of Siena to Rome.

I wish you all a good Sunday and a good lunch. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Goodbye!

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

Pontifical Academy of Sciences October Workshop to Review Recent Discoveries in Cell Biology

08/11/2017 - 3:17pm

 

The Pontifical Academy of Science  (PAS) workshop October 23-24, 2017 will bring together scientists from the Pontifical Academy and the Academia de Ciencias de América Latina (ACAL).

The workshop will be held at Casio Pio IV, the headquarters of the PAS.  The facility is part of the Vatican Gardens.

Workshop participants will review recent discoveries in cell biology and discuss ways overcome challenges for scientific research in Latin America. Scientific sessions will bring together experts in the fields of membrane biology, genetics, cell signaling, neurobiology and biomedical applications of cell biology.

The closing session of the workshop will be a general discussion hoping to increase scientific cooperation in Latin America, with recommendations for the future of science in the region.

Joachim Braun

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has its roots in the Academy of the Lynxes (Accademia dei Lincei), which was founded in Rome in 1603 as the first exclusively scientific academy in the world. The Accademia dei Lincei achieved international recognition, but did not survive the death of its founder, Federico Cesi. In 1847, Pope Pius IX reestablished the Academy as the Pontifical Academy of the New Lynxes. Pope Pius XI renewed and reconstituted the Academy in 1936, and gave it its present name.  Its current president is Joachim Braun, Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn.

The Pontifical Academy attempts to advance mathematical, physical and natural sciences, and the study of related epistemological questions and issues.  It also recognizes excellence in science, promotes international collaboration and fosters dialogue between faith and reason.  

ACAL was founded during a special meeting called by then-PAS President Carlos Chagas in 1982. This workshop will be an opportunity to review progress over the past 35 years.