Category Archives: Vatican News

Pope: Advent, time to bring peace to ourselves, to our family, to our world

“Do not talk about others”. “If all of us were doing just that – not talking about others – peace would succeed. May the Lord prepare our hearts for the Christmas of the Prince of Peace. But, prepare us by doing us all, our part, to pacify: pacify my heart, my soul, pacify my family, the school, the neighborhood, the workplace “.

Vatican (AsiaNews) – Advent is the time to build peace in one’s own soul, in the family and in the world. And the first step is not to speak ill of others. Pope Francis said this in the homily of the Mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta, inspired by the First Reading of today’s Liturgy (Isaiah11,1-10) and the Gospel (Luke 10,21-24).

Read more…http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Pope:-Advent,-time-to-bring-peace-to-ourselves,-to-our-family,-to-our-world-45649.html

May Advent prepare for the coming of Jesus, not just worldly goods

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Advent is a period that has “three dimensions”: past, present and future. It serves to “purify the faith”, to “purify hope” and to “purify vigilance”, because the Lord will return. Read more… http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Pope:-May-Advent-prepare-for-the-coming-of-Jesus,-not-just-worldly-goods-45638.html

Pope Francis’ lunch with the poor

Vatican – Pope Francis on Sunday joined about 1,500 poor people and a group of volunteers for lunch to mark the World Day of the Poor.
After Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, during which he urged believers to heed the cry of the poor and said that “the cry of the poor daily becomes stronger but heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich”, the Pope addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, and then went to a beautifully decked out Paul VI Hall and took his seat at the main table.
Before lunch was served, the Pope asked for thanks for those who prepared the lunch and for those who were serving and prayed for the Lord’s blessing for all those present.
A youth band from the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei provided musical accompaniment and the menu included lasagna, chicken morsels, mashed potatoes and tiramisu.- Linda Bordoni, 18 Nov 2018

Vatican documentary on priest who transformed poverty into hope

The Vatican Film Library presents a trailer on Friday for a documentary film “Good Friend-Pedro Opeka” by Jože Možina. https://youtu.be/p4KroXLR9b8

Known as the ‘Holy Fighter’ or ‘the man of miracles’, Father Pablo Pedro Opeka, the Lazzarist missionary shows Christ’s compassionate face to the poor in the peripheries of Madagascar through his humanitarian work. Father Pedro Opeka, an Argentinian with Slovenian origins, was ordained a priest in Buenos Aires on 28 September 1975 and was sent to a rural parish in southeast Madagascar.

Fr Opeka discovered that the people there were living in utter poverty with no proper food or shelter. He created a local non-governmental organization called Akamasoa (the good and faithful friends) in December 1989, which now sustains about thirty thousand people in 18 villages.

His story has been made into a documentary, entitled ” Good Friend – Pedro Opeka”, and was screened in the Vatican on Friday, November 16. The images chosen by the film’s creator – Slovenian national television journalist, Jože Možina – do not focus, as often happens, on suffering and degradation, but – like Father Pedro Opeka’s entire life – on dignity and rebirth.

The film is being presented thanks to a collaboration with the Embassy of Slovenia to the Holy See and the Slovenian Ministry of Culture. – Vatican News

PNG bishops: APEC’s success on the backs of the poor

The Pacific Rim summit will cost at least 1.5 billion dollars to a country where 40 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line and resources for education and health are scarce. The US-China trade war will dominate the meeting.

Port Moresby – The bishops of Papua New Guinea have strongly criticised the government for the huge cost incurred with the APEC summit (17-18 November) at a time when many Papua New Guineans lack essential services like health, education and hygiene.

“We share the concern of many about the huge amount of our limited resources being expended on this event which seems designed to entertain and impress the rich and powerful,” said Mgr Rochus Tatamai, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua-New Guinea.

Continue Reading

Pope: the Church grows in silence through testimony, through prayer, through good works

“The Bride of Christ has a silent temperament, generates fruits” without noise “, without” playing the trumpet like the Pharisees “.”The Church also grows with the blood of the martyrs, men and women who give their lives. Today there are many. Curious: they do not make the news. The world hides that. The spirit of the world does not tolerate martyrdom, it hides it”.

Vatican – The Church grows “in simplicity, in silence, in praise, in the Eucharistic sacrifice, in fraternal community, where all are loved,” and none are rejected. That was the message of Pope Francis during the daily Mass celebrated in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the day’s Gospel (Lk 17:20-25), the Pope said that the Kingdom of God “is not spectacular,” and that it grows in silence.

The Church, he said, is manifested “in the Eucharist and in good works,” even if they don’t “make the news.” The Bride of Christ has a temperament given to silence; she produces fruit “without making a fuss,” without “sounding the trumpet, like the Pharisees”:

The Lord explains to us how the Church grows with the parable of the sower. The sower sows and the seed grows by day, by night… – God gives the growth – and then the fruit is seen. But this is important: First, the Church grows in silence, in secret; it is the ecclesiastical style. And how is this manifested in the Church? By the fruits of good works, so that the people see and glorify the Father who is in heaven, Jesus says. And in the celebration, the praise and the sacrifice of the Lord – that is, in the Eucharist. There the Church is manifested: in the Eucharist and in good works.

“The Church grows through witness, through prayer, through the attraction of the Spirit who is within,” Pope Francis said in his homily, “and not through events.” These events certainly help, he continued, but “the growth proper to the Church, that which bears fruit, is in silence, in hiding, with good works, and the celebration of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery, the praise of God.”

The Lord helps us to not fall into the temptation of seduction. “We want the Church to be seen more; what can we do so that it will be seen?” So usually one falls into a Church of events that is not capable of growing in silence with good works, in secret.

In a world that too often gives into the temptation to sensation, to worldliness, to appearance, Pope Francis recalled that Jesus Himself was tempted to create a sensation: “But why take so long to accomplish the work of redemption? Perform a good miracle. Cast yourself down from the temple, and everyone will see; they will see, and they will believe in you.” But He chose “the path of preaching, of prayer, of good works,” the way “of the Cross” and “of suffering”:

The Cross and suffering. The Church grows also with the blood of the martyrs, men and women who give their lives. Today there are many [martyrs]. It’s strange; they don’t make the news. The world hides this fact. The spirit of the world does not tolerate martyrdom; it hides it. – AsiaNews, 15 Nov 2018

WWI: Papal diplomacy during and after The Great War

Following a series of commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, this week attention turns to a world post-WWI, and Papal diplomacy.

Remembrance Day observing the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI (ANSA)

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the guns fell silent and an Armistice between warring nations was declared. When World War I began no one thought it would last for so long. Those who went off to fight expected to be back for Christmas. It was not to be, and for four long years Europe was ravaged and 16 million lives were claimed.

On Sunday 11th November 2018 in many countries around the world a 2 minute silence descended to remember the fallen in this conflict which changed the map of Europe. On Wednesday an international conference got underway focusing on Catholics and the Holy See in the post war world of 1918-1922. Fittingly, a diplomat and the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, addressed the gathering remarking that at the end of this war and under the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XV, “there was a clear awareness of witnessing upheavals of unprecedented depth, but also Catholic optimism ready to open up to new paths…for the mission of the Church.”

The war time Pope

Pope Benedict XV, who was elected in a Conclave at the outbreak of WWI, had been a career diplomat and according to Papal author and Emeritus Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Dr John Pollard, “saw the war as a tragedy and in some sense an unnecessary tragedy.” He also notes that Benedict’s diplomatic skills were to stand him in good stead before and after this lengthy campaign as, “he did understand the international scene and he also made an absolutely crucial appointment of Cardinal Pietro Gasparri as his Secretary of State. Gasparri, like Benedict, was a diplomat and had long diplomatic experience.”

The author of Pope Benedict XV, “The Unknown Pope”, said “he adopted very very quickly the position of neutrality and impartiality…”

World War I was in many respects different from wars that had been fought in the past and was seen as the first truly modern war. Aircraft, armoured vehicles, modern artillery and machine guns were the weapons of choice and they were used to deadly effect. This type of mechanized warfare, Dr Pollard says, horrified the Pontiff. “He was outraged by the new methods of warfare, i.e. the trench warfare; by the torpedoing of passenger merchant vessels; by the aerial bombardment; by the attacks on civilian populations.”

Cardinal Parolin and post-WWI diplomacy

In his address, at the Pontifical Lateran University, Cardinal Parolin underlined that following the Armistice that ended WWI the fundamental path to tread was that of peace.
“It was natural”, he said, “that pontifical diplomacy, which during the war had dedicated so many forces to the restoration of peace, should first of all seek, even after the end of hostilities, the true consolidation of peace and its basic presupposition – the relaxation of tensions.” The Cardinal also noted that ”the peace negotiations took place without the participation of the Holy See, excluded because of article 15 of the London Pact, but also because of the intervention of the secularist forces determined to oppose religious-ecclesiastical interference in international bodies. Nevertheless, Benedict XV did not renounce those cards that remained for him to intervene with: the pastoral word in public pronouncements, the mobilization of Catholic public opinion and the presence, at least unofficially, of his diplomatic representatives.”

Dr Pollard also alludes to the exclusion of the Holy See from these post war discussions and says that Benedict and his Secretary of State Gasparri, “were very concerned about the outcomes of the Versailles peace conference of 1919 and in the end they felt it was too harsh particularly on Germany; they did not feel that it was a really good basis for future peace.”

The Pope of Peace

History has a habit of looking back at the life of a Pope and applying a label; St John XXIII was known as “Good Pope John “ and Pope John Paul I was affectionately described as the “smiling Pope”. In Benedict XV’s case, he was known as the “Pope of Peace”. This Dr Pollard explains is due to the fact that “he very genuinely and quite persistently tried to get the belligerent powers to the negotiating table, not just with the famous peace note of August 1917, but on several occasions before that and even after the peace note, tried to persuade the powers to start negotiating.”

Speaking about this famous Peace Note, Cardinal Pietro Parolin commented that the document signified a “respect for justice and equity in relations between States and peoples, renunciation of reciprocal compensation, respect for the natural principle of nationality and the legitimate aspirations of peoples, fair access to material goods and means of communication for all, the reduction of arms, arbitration as a peaceful means of resolving conflicts. Significantly, the Pontiff preferred, instead of justice, to speak of equity, that is, of animated justice”, he said.

Papal Polices and the Path of Peace

So what is the legacy of Pope Benedict XV and his diplomatic efforts during and after this devastating war? According to the Cambridge Fellow, “the moral standing of the Papacy was enormously enhanced by Benedict’s policies during the war, one of the most important being the humanitarian efforts which the Vatican made; the Vatican ran a sort of relief effort for prisoners of war and for civilians… secondly, the war obliged many countries to have a second look at the Vatican”, such as Britain who re-established diplomatic relations with the Holy See very shortly after World War I started. Dr Pollard adds that, “it can be argued that, -with I think a great deal of conviction- that Benedict’s policies during the First World War really put the Holy See on the path of peace diplomacy, that it became its vocation, if you like, or one of its vocations and ever since, the Papacy has been very concerned about peace and also about broader issues of social justice in the world.”Lydia O’Kane, Vatican News, 15 Nov 2018

World Diabetes Day focuses on role of families

More than 400 million people are currently living with diabetes worldwide.

On World Diabetes Day on Wednesday, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is joining partners around the world to highlight the impact that diabetes has on families and the role of family members in supporting prevention, early diagnosis and good management of diabetes.

The theme for World Diabetes Day 2018 and 2019 is “The Family and Diabetes”.

Established in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) with support from WHO in response to growing concerns about the health and economic threat posed by diabetes, the November 14 World Diabetes Day became an official UN day in 2006.

More than 425 million people are currently living with diabetes worldwide, and the prevalence is predicted to continue rising if current trends prevail. Diabetes is a major cause of premature dying, blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation. It was the seventh leading cause of death in 2016.

Growing numbers

Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. The global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population.

This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese. Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.

The number of people with diabetes is expected to rise to 522 million by 2030.  Three out of four people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries; 1 in 2 with diabetes (212 million) remain undiagnosed; less than 1 in 2 people with diabetes and 1 in 4 family members of people with diabetes have access to diabetes education programmes.

Type 2 diabetes

Most of these cases are type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable through regular physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet, and the promotion of healthy living environments.

Families have a key role to play in addressing the modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes and must be provided with the education, resources and environments to live a healthy lifestyle.

Besides the economic burden on the health-care system and national economy, diabetes can impose a large economic burden on people with diabetes and their families in terms of higher health-care costs and loss of family income associated with disability, premature death, and caring for disabled family members. – Robin Gomes, Vatican News, (Source: WHO/IDF), 14 Nov 2018

UNHCR urges “decisive action” for some 12 million stateless people

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said eliminating statelessness is the right thing to do, “humanly, ethically and politically”.

Stateless minority Rohingya people of Myanmar as refugees in Bangladesh. (AFP or licensors)

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR on Monday appealed to governments to take “decisive action” to eliminate the problem of statelessness, saying an estimated 12 million people may be its victims.

Regarding it as a grave human rights issue, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said eliminating the problem is the right thing to do, “ humanly , ethically and politically”.

In international law, a stateless person is one “who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”.  Statelessness can occur for several reasons, including discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups, or on the basis of gender.

Fundamental human rights

Grandi said that stateless people “still face huge barriers to exercising fundamental human rights”, such as education, medical care or legal employment, and called on states to tackle discrimination in nationality laws, which is regarded as the biggest driver of the problem.

He called on “politicians, governments and legislators around the world to act now, to take and support decisive action to eliminate statelessness globally by 2024.”

“Humanly, ethically and politically it is the right thing to do. Every person on this planet has the right to nationality and the right to say I BELONG,” he said.

Countless in limbo

Grandi’s appeal came four years after the launch of UNHCR’s 10-year  #IBelong campaign to eradicate statelessness globally, in recognition that millions remain stateless and living in limbo around the world, with the majority in Asia and Africa.

According to UNHCR, no region of the world is untouched by statelessness with some countries having hundreds of thousands of stateless persons.

The very nature of statelessness means it is difficult to determine exactly how many people are affected, or at risk. In 2017, approximately 70 countries reported 3.9 million stateless individuals. But UNHCR estimates that this is only a fraction of the total and the true number could be three times higher.

Only 25 countries around the world retain gender discrimination in their legislation that prevents mothers from conferring their nationality to their children on an equal basis as men.

Among the targets of Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, is Goal 16, which calls for the elimination of statelessness, i.e. ensuring legal identity for all by 2030. – Robin Gomes (Source: UNHCR) 

Pope at Mass: bishop, a humble and meek servant, not a prince

During Mass, Monday morning, Pope Francis spoke about the qualities of a bishop that St. Paul speaks about in his letter to Titus.

Pope Francis at Mass on November 12, 2018. (Vatican Media)

A humble and meek servant, not a prince.  This is what a bishop should be according to Pope Francis.  Celebrating Holy Mass, Monday morning, at the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, he delivered a homily outlining the qualities of a bishop.

He took his cue from the Letter of St. Paul to Titus in the day’s Mass, that describes in detail the figure of a bishop, to bring order in the Church.

Church not born in complete order

The Pope pointed out that the Church was born amidst zeal and disorder but also “admirable things” were accomplished.  He noted that there is always confusion and disorder with the power of the Holy Spirit but we must not be afraid because it is a beautiful sign.

Speaking in Italian, the Pope explained that the Church was never born with everything in order, in place, without problems, or confusion – never.  However this confusion, this disorder, he said, must be resolved and put in order.  As an example, he pointed to the first Council of Jerusalem where there was a struggle between judaizers and non – judaizers , but the Council finally fixed the problem.  

Bishop, administrator of God not of goods

Pope Francis said that St. Paul leaves Titus in Crete to set things right, reminding him that “the first thing is faith“. At the same time, he provides some criteria and instructions on the figure of the bishop.

The Pope outlined the definition of a bishop as a “steward of God”, not of goods, power, mutual self-interest but only the interest of God.  The bishop always has to correct and ask himself, “Am I an administrator of God or a businessman?”  The bishop, the administrator of God must be irreproachable – something that God asked of Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be irreproachable”. This, the Pope said, is the basic quality of a leader.

Qualities of bishop

Pope Francis also spoke about what a bishop should not be.  He should not be arrogant or conceited, ill-tempered or giving in to drinking, one of the most common vices in Paul’s time, not a businessman or attached to money.  He said it would be a calamity for the Church if a bishop had only one of these defects. Instead, a bishop should be able to “give hospitality”, a “lover of good”, “sensible, just, holy, master of himself, faithful to the Word worthy of the faith that he was taught”.

The Holy Father said it would be nice to ask these questions at the beginning of an investigation before the election of bishops, before going ahead with other inquiries.  

According to Pope Francis, a bishop, above all must be humble and meek, a servant not a prince. This, he said, is the Word of God.  This, he said, is not something new after Vatican II but goes back much earlier to the time of Paul.  This is from the beginning when the Church realized that it had to fix the problem of bishops.

What counts before God is not being nice and preaching well but humility and service.  The Pope concluded urging for prayers for bishops so that “they may be, or we may be, as Paul asks us to be”. – Robin Gomes, Vatican news

Pope: 100 years from the ‘senseless slaughter’. We must invest in peace, not in war

At the Angelus, Pope Francis remembers the end of the Great War, and asks everyone to “reject the culture of war”. The gesture of St. Martin, of sharing with the poor, “shows everyone the way to build peace”. The “poor and generous widow as a model of Christian life to be imitated”. “To give to the Lord and our brothers and sisters not something of ours, but ourselves”. Thirteen consecrated men and three lay faithful, martyrs of the Spanish civil war, beatified in Barcelona. Next Sunday, November 18, the second World Day of the Poor is celebrated.

Vatican City – “Invest in peace, not war!” this was the appeal that, after the Angelus, Pope Francis addressed today to the whole world in memory of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, which Benedict XVI defined “the senseless slaughter”. It is estimated that the war of 1915-1918 was one of the bloodiest with 37 million dead, counting 16 million killed and 20 million injured and mutilated both military and civilians.

Recalling that at 13.30 the bells of St. Peter, along with those of the whole world will sound in remembrance of the end of the conflict, Francis added that the memory of the 100 years “is a severe warning to reject the culture of war and to look for every legitimate means to put an end to the conflicts that still bleed several regions of the world “.

“While we pray for all the victims of that terrible tragedy – he continued – we say forcefully: invest in peace, not in war! And, as an emblematic sign, we take that of the great Saint Martin of Tours, who we remember today: he cut his cloak in two to share it with a poor man. This gesture of human solidarity indicates to everyone the way to build peace “.

Previously, commenting on today’s Gospel (32nd Sunday for year, B, Mark 12, 38-44), the Pope compared the two characters present in the passage: “the scribe and the widow. The first represents the important, rich, influential people; the other represents the last, the poor, the weak “.

The superiority and the vanity of the scribes, “leads them to contempt for those who count little or are in a disadvantageous economic position, like widows”. The widow instead, “goes to put in the treasury of the temple two coins, all that remained, she makes her offer trying to go unnoticed, almost ashamed. But, precisely in this humility, she performs an act charged with great religious and spiritual significance. That gesture full of sacrifice does not escape the attentive gaze of Jesus, who in fact sees the total gift of self shine to which he wants to educate his disciples “.

“Our ‘giving’ to God in prayer and to others in charity – he emphasized – should always shy away from ritualism and formalism, as well as from the logic of calculation, and be an expression of gratuitousness. Just as Jesus did. Jesus did not make us pay for redemption! … This is why Jesus indicates that poor and generous widow as a model of Christian life to be imitated … May the Virgin Mary, a poor woman who gave herself totally to God,  sustain us in the purpose of giving to the Lord and to the brothers not something of us, but ourselves, in a humble and generous offering “.

After the Marian prayer, Francis said that yesterday in Barcelona, ​​Fr. Teodoro Illera del Olmo (1883-1936) and fifteen fellow martyrs were beatified. These are thirteen consecrated persons and three lay faithful. “These new blesseds – the pontiff said – were all killed for their faith, in different places and dates, during the war and religious persecution of the last century in Spain. We praise the Lord for these courageous witnesses “. And he asked those present to applaud them.

Finally, the Pope recalled that next Sunday, November 18, the Second World Day of the Poor will be celebrated, with many initiatives of evangelization, prayer and sharing.

The Day was commissioned precisely by Pope Francis, to sensitize the world to sharing with the poor. “Even here in St. Peter’s Square – he said – a health clinic has been set up which will offer treatment to those in need for a week. I hope that this Day will foster an increasing attention to the needs of the last and the marginalized “. – AsiaNews, 11 Nov 2018

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.