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Pope offers clarifications on new process for liturgical translations

VATICAN CITY – In a letter responding to questions raised by Cardinal Robert Sarah on the new process of translating liturgical texts from Latin into vernacular languages, Pope Francis offered several points of clarification.

The Pope discussed points regarding the approval of new translations and the relationship between translations and Latin texts.

He clarified that while in the past, it was the task of the Vatican’s liturgical office to judge whether or not a translation is faithful to the original Latin, episcopal conferences themselves have now been given the faculty of “judging the goodness and consistency of one and the other term in the translations from the original, in dialogue with the Holy See.”

Dated 15 Oct 2017, the Pope’s letter was in response to one he had received from Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, at the end of September thanking the Pope for his recent motu proprio “Magnum Principium” (MP) on the translation of liturgical texts, and offering a commentary on how to interpret the motu proprio.

The motu proprio, published Sept 9, granted episcopal conferences the task of both preparing and approving texts that had been “faithfully” translated from the original Latin, while cementing the role of the Apostolic See in confirming the translations approved by bishops.

In his commentary, Cardinal Sarah had argued that the new process for translating liturgical texts still follows the rules put into place with the 2001 Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam (LA), which said the vernacular versions must faithfully reflect the language and structure of the Latin texts.

Sarah also looked at the role of the Holy See and bishops’ conferences in both “recognising” (recognitio) and “confirming” (confirmatio) modifications to liturgical texts, arguing that the term “recognitio” used in the new canons involves adaptions of texts, while “confirmatio” involves translations.

Because of this, the terms are different, even if they are “interchangeable with respect to the responsibility of the Holy See,” Sarah said. He also argued that the “recognitio” of liturgical texts implies a preliminary consultation with the Holy See before translation processes begin, with the “confirmatio” of the Holy See being the final step.

In his letter to Cardinal Sarah, the Pope thanked him for his commitment and for sending the commentary, but offered some simple “observations” on the commentary “which I consider to be important, especially for the proper application and understanding of the motu proprio and to avoid any misunderstanding.”

The first point Francis made was that his motu proprio Magnum Principium “abolished” the process for translating used by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments after LA was published in 2001. Magnum Principium, he said, “sought to change” this process.

The Pope said of the terms “recognitio” and “confirmatio,” that it cannot be said that they are “strictly synonymous or interchangeable or that they are interchangeable at the level of responsibility of the Holy See.”

The distinction between “recognitio” and “confirmatio,” he said, emphasises “the different responsibility” that the Apostolic See and episcopal conferences have in liturgical translations.

“Magnum Principium no longer claims that translations must conform on all points to the norms of LA, as was done in the past,” the Pope said, explaining that because of this, individual numbers in LA have to be “carefully re-understood.”

He said this includes numbers 79-84, which deal specifically with the requirement for a vernacular translation to have the “recognitio” of Rome. These numbers, Francis said, “have been abrogated,” and “re-formulated” with the publication of MP.

The “confirmatio” of the Vatican, then, “no longer supposes a detailed word-by-word examination,” he said, except in obvious cases which can be brought to the bishops for further reflection. This, the Pope said, applies to texts such as the Eucharistic Prayers or sacramental formulas.

Pope Francis said the new norms imply “a triple fidelity,” first of all to the original Latin text, to the particular languages the text is translated into, and to the comprehension of the text by its recipients.

In this sense, the “recognitio” of the texts only implies “the verification and preservation of conformity” to the Code of Canon Law and the communion of the Church, he said.

Francis also emphasised that in the process of translating liturgical texts, there should be no “spirit of imposition” on bishops conferences of a translation done by the Vatican’s liturgical department.

The Pope said “it is wrong to attribute to the ‘confirmatio’ the purpose of the ‘recognitio,’” which is to “verify and safeguard” in accordance with the law. He also stressed that the “confirmatio” is not “merely a formal act, but necessary for the edition of the translated liturgical book,” and is granted after the version has been submitted to the Apostolic See for a confirmation of the bishops’ approved text.

Pope Francis closed his letter noting that Cardinal Sarah’s commentary had been published on several websites, and asked that the cardinal transmit his response to the same outlets, as well as to members and consultors of the Congregation for Divine Worship. –  CNA/EWTN News

The pope’s new liturgy document: who was involved and what that tells us

An altar server holds a copy of a Roman Missal during Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Alexandria, Va., in this 2011 file photo. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

Massimo Faggioli, a theology professor at Villanova University Philadelphia, shares his analysis on Pope Francis’ newest document on liturgical translations on America the Jesuit Review, on 12 Sept 2017.

“Magnum Principium” is one of the major documents of Francis’ pontificate. For this reason, it deserves an analysis that is not only one of historical-theological context—and not just from the point of view of its possible consequences for the liturgical texts in English—but also an analysis of the institutional context in which it was decided and published.

The establishment of national bishops’ conferences, to which the apostolic letter gives back authority in matters of translations of liturgical texts, was the most important and effective institutional reform of the Second Vatican Council. Even before the council’s “Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church” (1965), which mandated the creation of national bishops’ conferences in all nations, the “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” approved in December 1963, relied on this new (though certainly present in different forms in the early centuries of Christianity) governing structure in the Catholic Church. This was part of the council fathers’ larger vision for a new relationship between Rome and the local churches. In this sense, Francis addresses the issue of the translations of liturgical texts in the context of his vision for the church and the role of the Roman Curia.

“Magnum Principium” also continues a pattern that has proven one of the most interesting elements of this pontificate. Francis’ efforts to reform the Roman Curia and decentralise the government of the Roman Catholic Church have tended to bypass and evade the role of the congregations of the Roman Curia. For example, “Magnum Principium” was issued by the pope motu proprio (“on his own initiative”), not as an instruction of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments or a joint document of more than one congregation. It is also notable that “Magnum Principium” was published during a papal trip abroad. It was published the day Francis was in Medellín, Colombia [9 Sept 2017], where the foundational event for the post-Vatican II church in Latin America took place: the continental conference of CELAM (the council of the Roman Catholic bishops of Latin America) in 1968. If it was a coincidence, it was a very interesting one.

The document must also be read in the context of the recent history of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the recurring tensions between Pope Francis and Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the congregation and the most visible critic of this pontificate from inside the Roman Curia. It is hard to imagine much of a role for Cardinal Sarah, who was appointed prefect by Francis in November 2014, in the crafting of this text. The prefect is not mentioned, and the official commentary accompanying the publication of “Magnum Principium” does not have his signature but instead that of the secretary of the congregation, Archbishop Arthur Roche (appointed by Benedict XVI in June 2012 to replace Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, who was made vice president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” by Benedict XVI). Archbishop Roche was chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy between 2003 and 2012, when the commission oversaw the new English translation of the Mass.

In the apostolic letter, Francis says that he relied on a commission of bishops and experts. We do not know the names of the members, but in October 2016 the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments went through a major change of personnel, with the appointment of 27 new members. Among them was the former liturgist for St John Paul II, Archbishop Piero Marini. Among those removed from the two congregations were the cardinals Angelo Scola (Milan), Angelo Bagnasco (Genoa) and Peter Erdo (Esztergom-Budapest). Perhaps more important, however, were the departures of these four cardinals: George Pell (Secretariat for the Economy), Raymond Burke (Knights of Malta), Marc Ouellet (Congregation for Bishops) and Malcolm Ranjith (Colombo, Sri Lanka). New appointees included Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state; and a new cardinal who very much shares Francis’ ecclesiology, John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand.

The tension between the pope and Cardinal Sarah is particularly interesting because it seems in part to be the result of Francis’ recent emphasis on the liturgy. In July 2016 Francis responded, through an unusual communiqué of the Holy See press office, to Cardinal Sarah’s statements that had attributed to the pope an endorsement of the “reform of the liturgical reform.” In November 2016 La Civiltà Cattolica published an article highlighting Francis’ positive view of the liturgical reform of Vatican II, as expressed in the foreword to a volume of his homilies recently published in Italian. And in January 2017 news leaked from Rome that Francis had created a commission to review “Liturgiam Authenticam,” the instruction issued in 2001 by the Congregation for Divine Worship on liturgical translations. Finally, on 24 Aug 2017, in a speech to Italian liturgists in Rome, Francis himself spoke of the liturgical reform of Vatican II as “irreversible.” These recent developments provide more context for “Magnum Principium.”

Though some see in this document an endorsement of a more “localist” ecclesiology as part of Francis’ decentralisation effort, “Magnum Principium” can also be seen as Francis’ response to the issue of translations of liturgical texts in the English-speaking world in this last decade. “The sorry saga of the failed English translation of Roman Missal III,” as the Rev Michael Ryan put it in an article for America, is a key part of the context. It is important to remember that the new English translation of the Missal was more a US-led operation than a Roman one, with major American prelates taking the lead to change ICEL and the role of the Vatican in the process of liturgical translations, as John Baldovin SJ, has pointed out.

Other language groups resisted the new wave of revisions of liturgical translations under Benedict XVI—even some not known for hostility to the Vatican and the papacy. For example, in 2012, the Italian bishops’ conference rejected the change in the translation of pro multis in the liturgy from “for all” to “for many” by an overwhelming majority. With “Magnum Principium,” Francis is restoring trust between Rome and the national bishops’ conferences but at the same time reasserting the role of Rome as the institutional guarantee of the trajectory of the liturgical reform of Vatican II. This mix of a top-down (the role of the papacy) and bottom-up (bishops’ conferences) approach has been typical of the history of liturgical reform since Vatican II, particularly during the pontificate of Paul VI.

Finally, “Magnum Principium” says something about the governing style of Francis. This apostolic letter is further evidence that Francis is governing the Catholic Church with almost no reliance on the Curia and, in some cases, is working at odds with major figures in the Curia. It is clear that Francis has in mind a continuing role for the Roman Curia in the church. In a recent book-length interview in French with the sociologist Dominique Wolton, Francis dismisses the idea of abolishing the Curia. At the same time, he is using the Curia in a very different way than his predecessors.

All this is taking place just as a comprehensive plan for the reform of the Roman Curia is approaching its final stage, as the secretary of the pope’s Council of Cardinals, Bishop Marcello Semeraro, announced in an interview with Vatican Radio just a few hours before Francis returned from Colombia. – americamagazine.org

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I issue first joint message on ecology

 

File photo: Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I sign a Joint Declaration reaffirming their desire to overcome obstacles dividing their churches on 30 Nov 2014 at the Phanar Turkey. AP Photo.

VATICAN CITY – For the first time, Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I are launching an appeal in a joint message, on the occasion of the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, celebrated on 1 Sept 2017.

On August 30, toward the conclusion of his General Audience in St Peter’s Square, the Pope himself announced this initiative.

Francis explained, “we invite everyone to adopt a respectful and responsible attitude toward Creation.”

“We also appeal,” he added, “to those who have influential roles, to listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor who suffer most from ecological imbalances.”

In 2015, Pope Francis instituted this World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, joining the Orthodox who have celebrated it on the date of September 1, for years. – zenit.org

Pope celebrates episcopal silver jubilee

VATICAN CITY – On 27 June 2017, Pope Francis marked the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop, celebrating Mass with members of the College of Cardinals in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

Commenting on the day’s readings, the Holy Father remarked that the patriarch Abraham “was more or less our age” when he heard the Lord’s call. But he rejected the charge that the hierarchy is “the ‘gerontocracy’ of the Church.” Rather, he said, “we are grandfathers, to whom our grandchildren look.” He went on to say that as grandfathers, bishops and cardinals “are called to dream and to pass on our dream to today’s youth.”

Speaking in his capacity as dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano offered the best wishes of the College to the Pope, assuring him of the cardinals’ prayers and allegiance. – CWN

Pope Francis refers to the end of his pontificate

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis caused a stir in a crowd in Rome on 8 April 2017 by suggesting that he might not survive to see the next international celebration of World Youth Day, which will be held in Panama in 2019.

“I don’t know whether I will be there, but the Pope will be in Panama!,” the Pontiff said. He also mentioned that “at my age, we are getting ready to leave the scene.”

The Pope, who is 80 years old, contrasted his situation with that of the young people who joined him for a prayer vigil in anticipation of World Youth Day. “You have the future in front of you,” he told them.

Pope Francis has mentioned on several occasions that he does not expect to have a long pontificate. However Vatican insiders say that there are no particular concerns about his health. – CWN

Pope Francis marks four years as pope

Pope Francis (R) and new cardinals visit with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the retired pope’s residence after a consistory at the Vatican 19 Nov 2016. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano, handout)

PENAMPANG – 13 March 2017 marks the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis as pope.  Below is a reflection by Jesuit Father Thomas Reese on the impact of the pope has on the church.

In four years, the pope has had a profound impact on the church. True, he has not changed the church’s position on birth control, celibacy, women priests and gay marriage, but he has fundamentally changed how we see the church in five ways.

First, the pope has called for a new way of evangelising. He tells us that the first words of evangelisation must be about the compassion and mercy of God, rather than a list of dogmas and rules that must be accepted. He speaks daily of the compassion and love of God. Our response, he says, is to show compassion and love to all our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and marginalised. He not only talks about it; he does it by reaching out to refugees, the homeless, and the sick.

Second, Pope Francis is allowing open discussion and debate in the church. He is not scandalised by disagreements, even over doctrine. It is impossible to exaggerate how extraordinary this is. Only during Vatican II was such a debate possible. Ironically, conservatives who attacked progressives as dissenters under earlier papacies have now become dissenters to the teaching of Pope Francis.

Under Francis, synodal participants were encouraged by the pope to speak their minds boldly and not worry about disagreeing with him. The result is a freer exchange of views, public disagreements, and even outright criticism of the pope by some conservative cardinals. All of this would never have been allowed under earlier popes.

Third, Cardinal Burke and the pope’s critics are right; the pope is presenting a new way of thinking about moral issues in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia. He is moving the church away from an ethics based on rules to one based on discernment. Facts, circumstances, and motivations matter in such an ethics.

Under this approach to moral theology, it is possible to see holiness and grace in the lives of imperfect people, even those in irregular marriages. Rather than seeing the world as divided between the good and the bad, we are all seen as wounded sinners for whom the church serves as a field hospital where the Eucharist is food for the wounded rather than a reward for the perfect. Gone is any attempt to scare people into being good.

Fourth, the pope has raised environmental issues to a central place in the Catholic faith. He recognises that global warming may be the most important moral issue of the 21st century. In his encyclical, Laudato Si’, the pope tells us that “Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”

His encyclical was greeted enthusiastically by environmentalists who in the past saw the church as an enemy because of its position on birth control. Now the church is an ally because environmentalists are recognising that religion is one of the few things that can motivate people to the kind of self-sacrifice required to save the planet. The pope’s encyclical has shown the way.

Finally, the pope has moved to reform the governance structures of the church. True, reform of the Roman Curia has proceeded slowly, but it is happening. The financial reforms are spreading through the various Vatican agencies, beginning with the Vatican bank and moving through other entities. The Vatican budgetary process has been tightened up, and various offices have been consolidated. This is all for the good of the church. There is still lots to be done, but it is happening.

More importantly, he is trying to change the culture of the clergy, moving them away from clericalism to a vocation of service. He wants bishops and priests to see themselves as servants of the people of God, not princes.

Most important for the protection of his legacy, he has broken with tradition and seized control of the process for appointing cardinals. Rather than simply promoting prelates in traditional cardinalatial sees, he has reached into the college of bishops for cardinals that reflect his priorities and values. This increases the chances that his successor, elected by these cardinals, will continue his agenda and not roll back the changes that he has made.

Pope celebrates Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

VATICAN CITY –  Pope Francis on Thursday, 2 Feb 2017, celebrated Mass for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in St Peter’s Basilica here. Members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life participated in the Liturgy.

The Mass also commemorates the World Day for Consecrated Life. On this day, the Church celebrates and prays for those who have consecrated their lives to God by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. The World Day for Consecrated Life was established in 1997 by Pope John Paul II; 2017 marks the twenty-first annual observance of the Day.

The liturgical feast chosen for the commemoration celebrates the presentation of the newborn Jesus in the Temple by Joseph and Mary forty days after His birth, in accordance with the law of the Old Testament. The feast is also known as “Candlemas” on account of the blessing of candles and the procession that takes place at the beginning of the Mass.

The candles blessed during the Liturgy thus symbolise both Christ, who is the Light of the World; and the lives of consecrated women and men who are called to reflect the light of Christ for all peoples.

In his homily, Pope Francis spoke of the “hymn of hope” pronounced by Simeon and Anna when they saw the Saviour appearing in the Temple. We, too, the Pope said, “have inherited this hymn of hope from our elders… We would do well to take up the dreams of our elders, so that we can prophesy in our day, and once more encounter what originally set our hearts on fire.”

But he also warned of a “temptation” that can make the consecrated life barren: the temptation of “survival,” which urges us to protect ourselves at the expense of our dreams. “The temptation of survival,” Pope Francis said, “makes us forget grace.”

The Holy Father reminded consecrated women and men, that they are called to put themselves “with Jesus in the midst of His people.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily with the exhortation: “Let us accompany Jesus as He goes forth to meet His people, to be in the midst of His people.”

This year’s celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life has a particular significance, being devoted to thanksgiving and prayer for the gift of vocations, especially in view of the upcoming Synod of Bishops, which will be dedicated to the theme: “Youth, faith and vocational discernment.” The Synod is expected to meet in October 2018. – vatican radio

Pope gives his recipe for perseverance in the consecrated life

File photo:  A section of the group photo of the participants taken at the Consecrated Life Year Symposium, 16 Sept 2015, Majodi Centre Plentong.

ROME – Pope Francis gave religious men and women his recipe for keeping their vocation as fresh as it was the first day they received it.

It happened during a meeting with the Vatican head in charge of religious life Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz on 30 Jan 2017. They met in Rome to talk about the faithfulness and perseverance not only of consecrated people, but also of those who have left.

The Pope acknowledged his concern for the perseverance of those who give their lives to God and detailed in an important speech the factors that help make it grow.

“There are many factors that condition faithfulness in this change of era, and not only an era of changes, in which it is difficult to make serious and definitive commitments,” he said.

The pope mentioned several factors that make it difficult to be faithful for those who choose to give their lives to God.

The first, he said,  is the social context. In particular, “the culture of the provisional” that leads many to always look for “side doors” that open to other possibilities in life, but leave existence empty of meaning.

Another problem, he continued,  is when the person judges everything “according to a self-realisation that often has nothing to do with the values of the Gospel.”

The Pope lamented how the generous wishes of young people are sometimes drowned by “the quest for success at any price, easy money and easy pleasure.”

The last challenge, he said,  are the religious men and women who are “anti-examples” and make their own faithfulness and that of others to consecrated life more difficult.

The Pope said that they are the ones who are led by routine, tiredness, the weight of structural management, internal divisions, the search for power, authority as authoritarianism, and authority that permits everything.

However, the pope also offered solutions to those who are going through natural crises. In addition to deepening one’s personal relationship with God, he proposed taking care of brotherhood within the Order.

The Pope’s recipe includes common prayer, meditation on the Bible, participation in the Mass, Confession, dialogue and sincere communication, fraternal correction, mercy with the brother or sister who sins, and shared responsibilities. – romereports

Local Carmelite Family celebrates canonisation of Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity

 

thanksgiving-canonisation-2016

KOTA KINABALU – The local Carmelite Family–Carmelite nuns (OCD) and Secular Carmelites (OCDS) celebrated the canonisation of Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity with a thanksgiving Mass on 17 Oct 2016.

Archbishop John Wong presided at the Mass, concelebrated with Fr Rayner Bisius, at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel here.  In his homily, the prelate touched on the special readings and on a brief biography of the new saint.

The simple celebration ended with a breakfast prepared by the Carmelite Seculars for all.

Born Elisabeth Catez on 18 July 1880 in France, she was a gifted pianist with a forceful temper.   Elizabeth sacrificed her music for the “music of silence” when she entered Carmel. Her mystical teaching are encapsulated in the two Retreats she wrote,  as well as her celebrated “Prayer to the Trinity” which reflects its author’s absorption in “The Three” as she termed them, and her love of adoration, silence, peace, conformity to Christ and surrender to the Holy Spirit. So expressive is this “Prayer” that it is also included in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Dying of Addison’s disease on 9 Nov 1906, Blessed Elizabeth’s last words were “I am going to Light, to Love, to Life.”

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

Pope Francis canonised her along with four other Blesseds yesterday Oct 16 at the Vatican.  They were Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, a Spanish bishop known for his devotion to eucharistic adoration; Guillaume-Nicolas-Louis Leclerq, a Christian Brother martyred during the September Massacres in Paris after refusing to swear allegiance to the new government following the French Revolution; Lodovico Pavoni, the Italian founder of the Sons of Mary Immaculate, now commonly known as the Pavonians; and Alfonso Maria Fusco, an Italian priest who founded the Congregation of the Baptistine Sisters of the Nazarene.

 

 

 

Pope Francis: Gossip is the devil’s weapon against the Church

gossip-copyVATICAN CITY – Church unity is endangered especially by certain tactics of division favoured by the devil himself, Pope Francis told bishops of mission territories on Friday.

“Division is the weapon the devil employs most to destroy the Church from within,” the Pope said on 9 Sept 2016.

“He has two weapons, but the main one is division: the other is money. The devil enters through our pockets and destroys with the tongue, with idle chatter that divides, and the habit of gossiping is a habit of ‘terrorism’.”

“The gossip is a ‘terrorist’ who throws a grenade – chatter – in order to destroy,” he added. “Please, fight against division, because it is one of the weapons that the devil uses to destroy the local Church and the universal Church.”

The Pope addressed his remarks to the participants in a seminar for bishops of mission territories which was held in Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace.

Among Pope Francis’ other concerns were ethnic divisions in missionary territories. These “must not penetrate into the Christian communities to the point of prevailing over their own good.”

“These are challenges that are difficult to resolve, but with the grace of God, prayer, penance, it can be done,” the Roman Pontiff continued. “The Church is called to place herself above tribal and cultural connotations and the bishop, the visible principle of unity, has the task of ceaselessly building up the particular Church in the communion of all her members.”

The Pope exhorted the bishops “to care for the flock and to go in search of sheep, especially those that are far away or lost.”

For Pope Francis, the bishops must seek out new ways of proclaiming the gospel and reaching out to people. They must work “to help those who have received the gift of baptism to grow in faith, so that believers, even those who are lukewarm or not practising, may discover anew the joy of faith and evangelising fruitfulness.”

He encouraged the bishops “to encounter those sheep that do not yet belong to Christ’s fold.”

Evangelism has an essential connection to proclaiming the Gospel “to those who do not know Jesus Christ or have always rejected him,” he added.

Lay Catholics should be encouraged to collaborate in mission work.

“Many lay faithful, immersed in a world marked by contradictions and injustices, are willing to seek the Lord and to bear witness to Him. It is up to the bishop, first and foremost, to encourage, accompany and stimulate all the attempts and all efforts made to keep hope and faith alive.”

“Care for the people God has entrusted to you, care for priests, care for seminarians. This is your task,” the Pope told the bishops.

He encouraged them to be particularly involved in priestly formation and with their priests.

“Do not forget that for the bishop, the closest of the close is the priest. Every priest must be aware of the closeness of his bishop,” he said. “When a bishop receives a telephone call from a priest, or a letter, he must answer immediately, immediately! The same day, if possible. But that closeness must begin in the seminary, in formation, and continue.”

According to Pope Francis, bishops have the mission to “observe carefully the problems and practical questions of the society to be evangelised.” These require that bishops “tend towards the fullness of maturity in Christ.”

Through their witness, spiritual and intellectual maturity, and pastoral charity, he asked, “may Christ’s charity and the Church’s care for all mankind shine ever more brightly in you.” – CNA/EWTN News

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