Tag Archives: vatican

First layman to head Vatican Communication Office

Pope Francis shakes hands with Paolo Ruffini, the new prefect of the Department for Communication.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on 5 July 2018 named Paolo Ruffini as the new Prefect for the Dicastery for Communication.

Paolo Ruffini was born in Palermo, Sicily, on 4 October 1956.

He attained his degree in Jurisprudence from La Sapienza University of Rome.

Dr Ruffini has been a professional journalist since 1979. He has worked for the papers Il Mattinoof Naples (1979-1986); and Il Messaggero of Rome (1986-1996); in radio at Giornale Radio Rai(1996-2002), Canale Gr Parlamento (1998-2002), Radio 1 (1999-2002) and Inblu Radio (2014-2018); and on television at Rai3 (2002-2011), La 7 (2011-2014); and Tv2000 (2014-2018).

He has received numerous awards for journalism, and taken part in numerous conferences on the role of communications ethics, the new media, and the role of Christians in media.

His father Attilio, an anti-fascist and among the first Christian Democrats, was repeatedly a minister. His great-uncle, originally from Mantua, was Archbishop of Palermo, (nominated by Pacelli) and a member of the Sacred College from 1945 to 1967.

Ruffini, married to Maria Argenti, is the first lay person to head a department of the Roman Curia. The Department for Communication is a new reality that unites and coordinates all the editorial, informative, communicative and multimedia realities of the Holy See together with what was once the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Ruffini’s nomination as head of one of the most significant Vatican department – in terms of number of persons employed – is unprecedented in the history of the Holy See, which up to now had only the current commissioner of the vice-presidency of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Professor Guzman Carriquiry, formerly number three of the old Pontifical Council for the Laity, as the only lay person leading a top position.

For the first time, therefore, a married man, neither bishop nor priest, takes on a role comparable to that of cardinals and archbishops heads of department, that is, “ministers” of the Pope and his collaborators in the Curia.

What are the reasons for Francis’ decision? The Pope had the opportunity to know and appreciate the work of the new Prefect in the years spent at Tv2000 (Ruffini himself, together with Lucio Brunelli, director of the episcopal TV news had interviewed Pope Francis at the end of the great extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, in November 2016).

Ruffini’s curriculum speaks for itself: a journalist and TV expert, he was the director of Rai3 in the years when the third network of Italian public TV produced some of the highest quality programmes. His ability and competence in the field of communication are therefore known and recognised.

Ruffini’s most hidden feature, for it is known only to those who have had the opportunity to work with him, is his ability to listen and making the most of each person’s abilities, including and never excluding.

The unmistakable human trait of a transparent person: it is no coincidence that at noon on 5 July 2018, when the appointment to the Vatican was made public, there were several collaborators, journalists and technicians in tears in the studios of Tv2000.

The Vatican media are going through a difficult transitional phase: the path of the reform undertaken by the previous Prefect, Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, who resigned following the incident of Benedict XVI’s partially published letter, but kept the role of “councilor” in the dicastery – has yet to be completed. Tensions and misunderstandings were not lacking.

The arrival of a person who, wherever he found himself holding positions of responsibility, was able to make all his collaborators work well, making the most of each person’s abilities, is therefore a significant choice, light years away from the corporate and functional mentality that sometimes seems to infect the Church too when it pursues big majors’ models ending up taking for granted the content of what it communicates. – Andrea Tornielli, Vatican Insider News / Vatican News

Vatican launches international conference on ecology

A man sorting through used plastic bottles at a junkyard in Hanoi. (AFP or licensors)

VATICAN CITY – Vatican officials briefed the press on 26 June 2018 on an upcoming international conference to mark three years since the publication of ‘Laudato Sì.’

An International Conference entitled “Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth” is set to take place in the Vatican on July 5-6.

Organised to coincide with the third anniversary of Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Sì”, the event will see the participation of Vatican Officials and climate change experts.

Launching the Conference on Tuesday morning in the Holy See Press Office, was Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

He told Vatican News the Conference intends to reiterate the urgent need for substantial changes in policy and lifestyle in order to safeguard Creation.

Cardinal Turkson explained that the aim of this conference is to awaken people to the gravity of the situation.

“We all know how the coral reefs are dying; we all know how whales are washed ashore their bellies full of plastic; how the temperature of the sea is rising so methane gas is being released from the ocean; we know the impact of everything happening: the ice caps melting, the sea levels rising, islands disappearing, the hurricanes becoming more and more violent – we know all of this” he said.

“What does it take,” he continued, “to decide to make a change?”

Turkson pointed out that in his Encyclical ‘Laudato Sì’ Pope Francis expressed great confidence in the ability of the human person to change for the better if he allows himself to be guided by the goodness of God.

“Yes we can change but we need to open ourselves to God and his grace” he said, noting that “if we limit ourselves to technology we will not go far.”

Turkson said what we need is a real conversion of heart, and what he and his Dicastery want to do is to work for change speaking the language of faith “so that with the grace of God we can bring about true change”.

His Dicastery, he said, is taking action and hopefully setting an example by installing a water purifying unit so that there is no more need to buy water in plastic bottles.

Turkson also said that the Vatican Governatorate may go ahead with plans to have solar panels installed and charger stations for electric vehicles.

“These are some suggestions we want to humbly suggest at the end of the conference,” he said. – Linda Bordoni, Vatican News

Pope renames Vatican communications office

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on 23 June 2018, changed the name of the Secretariat for Communication to the “Dicastery for Communication”, with a rescript published in the Osservatore Romano.

The Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication (Vatican News’ parent organization) will now be called the Dicastery for Communication.

Pope Francis made his decision public on Saturday, after hearing the opinion of the Council of Cardinals.

In a rescript published in the Osservatore Romano on Saturday, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, said the decision was taken during an audience with the Holy Father and became effective on Saturday.

A dicastery is one of the official congregations of the Holy See, for example,  the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, through which the Pope conducts the regular administration of the universal Church. – Vatican News

Vatican suggests ways to prevent and eradicate corruption in Wesak Day message

VATICAN – In a message for Wesak, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue analyses the causes and ill effects of corruption and suggests ways to prevent and eradicate it.

The Vatican is inviting the world’s Buddhists and Christians to work together to combat and prevent the “heinous crime” of corruption by eradicating its underlying causes. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) made the call in a message released on Wednesday, 11 Apr 2018, in view of the upcoming Buddhist festival of Wesak.

“Corruption involving the abuse of positions of power for personal gain, both within the public or private sectors, has become such a pervasive scandal in today’s world that the United Nations has designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day,” says the message signed by PCID President Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and Secretary, Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot. Vatican News

Message for the Feast of Wesak which falls on 29 May 2018.

Dear Buddhist Friends,

1. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, we extend our warmest greetings and prayerful good wishes on the occasion of Wesak. May this feast bring joy and peace to all of you, your families and your communities throughout the world.

2. We wish to reflect this year on the pressing need to promote a culture free of corruption. Corruption involving the abuse of positions of power for personal gain, both within the public and private sectors, has become such a pervasive scandal in today’s world that the United Nations has designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day. As the phenomenon of corruption becomes more widespread, governments, non-governmental organisations, the media, and citizens around the world are joining together to combat this heinous crime. As religious leaders, we too must contribute to fostering a culture imbued with lawfulness and transparency.

3. Pope Francis’ monthly prayer intention for February 2018 was “Say ‘No’ to Corruption.” In denouncing “the sin of corruption,” he recognises that corruption is found throughout the world among politicians, business executives and clerics. Those who ultimately pay the price for corruption, he observes, are the poor. Recalling the words of Jesus to his disciples, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26), the Pope insists, “the only road leading out of corruption […] is service. Because corruption comes from pride, from arrogance, and service is humbling: it is precisely the humble charity of helping others” (Morning Meditation, Domus Santae Marthae, 16 June 2014).

4. Dear friends, as Buddhists, you regard corruption as an unwholesome state of mind that causes suffering and contributes to an unhealthy society. You identify three principal toxins — greed, hate and delusion or ignorance — as sources of this social scourge that must be eliminated for the good of the individual and society. The Second Precept of Buddhism, “I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from taking that which is not given,” teaches Buddhists to discern whether those things that come into their possession are indeed meant for them. If such things have been taken from others illicitly, they may not rightfully be kept. Buddhist teachings and practice not only disapprove of corruption but also seek to transform the unhealthy state of mind, intentions, habits and actions of those who are corrupt.

5. Even though both our religious traditions firmly denounce the evil of corruption, we sadly acknowledge that some of our followers participate in corrupt practices and this leads to bad governance, corporate bribery and the pillaging of national assets. Corruption puts lives at risk for it is connected to low economic growth, weak investment, inflation, monetary devaluation, tax evasion, great inequality, poor education, sub-standard infrastructure, and the degradation of environment. It also threatens the health and safety of individuals and communities. People are scandalised by incompetent and corrupt politicians, ineffective legislation and the failure to investigate major corruption cases. Populist movements, sometimes motivated and sustained by religious fundamentalism, have arisen to protest the breakdown of public integrity.

6. We believe that corruption cannot be answered with silence, and that well-intentioned ideas will prove inadequate unless they are applied, and that such implementation is necessary for corruption to be eliminated. We, Buddhists and Christians, rooted in our respective ethical teachings, must work together to prevent corruption by eradicating its underlying causes and to root out corruption where it exists. In this effort, our main contribution will be to encourage our respective followers to grow in moral integrity and a sense of fairness and responsibility. Our common commitment to combating corruption must include cooperating with the media and civil society in preventing and exposing corruption; creating public awareness of corruption; holding white-collar criminals who plunder national assets accountable for their actions, regardless of their ethnic, religious, political, or class affiliations; teaching and inspiring all people, but especially politicians and public servants, to act with the utmost fiscal integrity; calling for due legal process to recover assets that are stolen through corruption and bringing to justice those responsible for this crime: encouraging more women to participate in politics: refusing to entrust with public office those engaged in illegal activities; and introducing transparent and inclusive institutions based on the rule of law for good governance, accountability, and integrity.

7. Dear friends, may we actively commit ourselves to fostering within our families, and social, political, civil, and religious institutions, an environment free of corruption, by living a life of honesty and integrity. It is in this spirit that we wish you, once again, a peaceful and joyful feast of Wesak!

Pope Francis says WYD poster is ‘futurist’

VATICAN CITY – The Archdiocese of Panama reported via tweet that Archbishop Ulloa gave a poster for the upcoming World Youth Day to Pope Francis’ in Wednesday’s general audience, 18 Apr 2018.

The Pope made the comment that it is “futurist,” and that “he likes it a lot.”

Archbishop Ulloa also gave Pope Francis a pair of tennis shoes decorated by young people living in the cities surrounding Samaria, in Panama’s San Miguelito district. Pope Francis received them, saying, “These are the shoes I will need when I go to Panama.”

The poster was officially presented on Sunday, 15 April, during the 47th Eucharistic Congress in Panama whose theme was, “Do not fear Mary, because you have found favour with God.” Numerous bishops, priests, and hundreds of young people from Panama and elsewhere in Latin America attended the celebration.

A young designer named Ambar Calbo created the poster, as well as the official logo for WYD 2019. – Vatican News

Pope responds to young people’s questions at pre-synodal meeting

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VATICAN CITY – At a pre-Synodal meeting on Monday, 19 Mar 2018, Pope Francis responded to five questions about issues faced by young people from around the world.

How can young people help victims of human trafficking?

Pope Francis was clearly moved by the first question which addressed the reality of sex trafficking. He referred to the stories he has heard from trafficked women about the dangers they face trying to escape their captors. The Pope described this abuse, and even torture, as the “slavery of today.” The Pope went on to denounce the evil of exploiting women. He had especially strong words for baptised Catholics who pay for prostitutes. This is a “crime against humanity,” he said. Pope Francis called on young people to fight for the dignity of women, and concluded by asking forgiveness for all the Catholics who take part in these “criminal acts.”

Where should a young person look for guidance in making life choices?

Pope Francis responded to a young French student seeking direction in his life, by suggesting we confide in those who possess wisdom, regardless of whether they are young or old. “The wise person,” he said, “is the one who is not scared of anything, but who knows how to listen and has the God-given gift of saying the right thing at the right time.” The Pope warned that when young people fail to find their “path of discernment,” they risk shutting themselves off. This can become like carrying a “cancer” inside, he said. And this risks weighing them down and taking away their freedom.

How can we teach young people to be open to their neighbour and to the transcendent?

Pope Francis said education should teach three basic languages: those of the head, the heart, and the hands. The language of the head, he said, means thinking well and learning concrete things. That of the heart means understanding feelings and sentiments. The language of the hands is making use of the gifts God has given us to create new things. The key, he said, is to use all three together. Pope Francis went on to criticise what he called the “isolating nature” of today’s digital, virtual world. Rather than demonise technology, the Pope called it a richness that must be used well with a “concreteness that brings freedom.”

How is a young person preparing for the priesthood to respond to the complexities of present-day culture – like tattoos, for instance?

Pope Francis used this question from a young Ukrainian seminarian to reflect on the priest as a “witness to Christ.”  Clericalism, on the contrary, said the Pope, is “one of the worst illnesses of the Church,” because it confuses the “paternal role of the priest” with the “managerial role of the boss.” He also spoke about the relationship between the priest and the community and how this relationship is compromised, and can be destroyed, by “gossip.” Responding specifically to the question of tattoos, Pope Francis recalled how different cultures have used them to distinguish and identify themselves, so “don’t be afraid of tattoos,” he said – but don’t exaggerate either. If anything, use the tattoo as a talking-point to begin a dialogue about what it signifies.

How can young women religious balance the dominant culture in society and the spiritual life in accomplishing their mission?

The Pope responded to this final question saying that an adequate formation throughout religious life needs to be built on four pillars: formation for an intellectual, communitarian, apostolic, and spiritual life. Having only a spiritual formation leads to psychological immaturity, he said. Even though this is often done to protect young religious from the world, Pope Francis said it is not protection, it is “deformation.”  Those who have not received affective formation are the ones who have ended up doing evil. Allowing people to mature affectively is the only way to protect them.

Pope Francis spoke at the opening session of the 19-24 March 2018 pre-synod meeting, which has drawn some 300 youth from around the world to talk about major themes for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on “Young People, Faith and the Discernment of Vocation.”

Youth in different states in life are in Rome to participate in the event. Priests, seminarians, and consecrated persons are also participating. Special attention will also be given to youth from both global and existential “peripheries,” including people with disabilities, and some who have struggled with drug use or who have been in prison.

At the end of the gathering, notes of the various discussions throughout the week will be gathered into a comprehensive concluding document, which will be presented to Pope Francis and used as part of the “Instrumentum Laboris,” or “working document,” of the October synod. – Vatican News/CNA

Pope Francis meets with a Taoist delegation from Taiwan

VATICAN CITY – Before his weekly general audience on 14 Mar 2018, Pope Francis received a delegation representing the Bao’An Gong Taoist temple from Taipei, Taiwan.

The President of the Bao’An Gong temple, Liao Wu-jyh, spoke on behalf of the members of his delegation and presented Pope Francis with a joint declaration bearing his signature and that of the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Bishop Miguel Ayuso.

Mr Liao said that the declaration demonstrates the “determination of the Taipei Bao’An temple to join hands with the Holy See” in order to achieve the seven goals listed in it. He added that the most important of these goals is the last one which seeks “to promote and safeguard universal values, namely, justice, peace, solidarity, friendship, freedom, and religious harmony.” Mr Liao concluded his remarks with an invitation to the Holy Father to Taiwan “to see and understand Taiwan and its people first hand—and let us pray for you.”

Responding to Mr Liao’s presentation, Pope Francis thanked him for his words, and for the invitation to visit Taiwan. The Pope said that he is pleased that their dialogue with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is not only about ideas. “it is a human dialogue, person to person, that helps everyone to grow, to grow as persons, on our road in the search for the Absolute, for God,” Pope Francis said.

“It is a human dialogue, person to person, that helps everyone to grow, to grow as persons, on our road in the search for the Absolute, for God,” Pope Francis said.

Since October 2016, members of the Taipei based Bao’An Gong temple have been in dialogue with the Catholic Church through the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference in Taiwan.

A spokesperson for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue characterised this dialogue as one that has created bonds of friendship and cooperation as each of the participants has grown in their knowledge of the other’s religion.

He said that the visit to the Vatican on the part of the Taoist delegation is significant and “marks a milestone in the relationship.”

He added that both sides in the dialogue hope to be “advocates of justice and to be builders of peace…. Through interreligious dialogue and cooperation we can help safeguard human dignity and promote the betterment of the human family.” – Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp, Vatican News

First Vatican Hackathon seeks solutions to real problems

VATICAN CITY – The first Vatican ‘Hackathon’ gets underway on 8 Mar 2018 with a press conference showcasing the Church’s willingness and desire to embrace technological development.

The event brings together 120 university students from around the world to create technological solutions to real-world problems related to interfaith dialogue, social inclusion, and migrants and refugees.

Combining Christian values with technological development to solve global problems, the Vatican Hackathon received enthusiastic support from Pope Francis and the various offices of the Holy See.

Msgr Lucio Ruiz, Secretary of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication, launched the event at a press conference on Thursday. He said Pope Francis was enthusiastic from the beginning about hosting a Vatican Hackathon, saying “Yes, we must do it!”

A Hackathon (combining the words ‘hacking’ and ‘marathon’) hosts university students from different disciplines who collaborate under a time constraint to create solutions to current global problems.

The Vatican event will ask 120 students from 30 countries to address the issues of social inclusion, interfaith dialogue, and the challenges facing migrants and refugees. Over the course of 36 hours on 8-11 March, the teams of business, design, and engineering students will seek to create a project, which leverages technology to provide a solution to a concrete problem. Solutions can come in the form of applications, websites, platforms, products, or new initiatives.

Msgr Ruiz said, besides the Pope’s enthusiasm, the Vatican Secretariat of State was positive about the project and quickly allowed “Vatican” to be added to event.  Msgr Ruiz said this event demonstrates how seamlessly faith, science, and technology work together for the good of all people.

Another presenter, Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, Director of the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section, said the Church has always embraced technology.

“In case you think this Vatican Hackathon is an unusual invention,” he said, “let me just mention that we Jesuits, Dominicans, and Franciscans and others embraced the printing press in the 16th century and did much the same with it as we’re hoping to do with technology today.”

Fr Czerny said the event follows the “long tradition of the Church, learning to use what God has inspired his people to invent.”

Projects will be judged based on how well the technology employed advances socio-economic development and the extent to which moral and ethical challenges related to new technologies were taken into consideration.

One major goal of the Vatican Hackathon is to promote Christian values within technology and business sectors around the world.

The event is sponsored by the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and OPTIC,  an international network of research and innovation dedicated to ethical issues of disruptive technologies. – Devin Watkins, Vatican News

Pope Francis approves sainthood for Oscar Romero

A painting of Oscar Romero at the Cathedral of San Salvador (Getty)

VATICAN CITY – Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero will be canonised as a saint, the Vatican confirmed on Wednesday, 7 Mar 2018.

Pope Francis approved the declaration of a miracle attributed to the slain archbishop’s intercession, clearing the way for Romero’s canonisation.

Archbishop Romero was shot dead on 24 March 1980 as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel in El Salvador. His murder shocked the world, and came at the height of the country’s civil war. No one has ever been brought to justice for the crime.

Pope Francis decreed in February 2015 that Romero had died for the Catholic faith, before beatifying him in May last year.

Now the Pope has declared that Romero was responsible for the miraculous healing of Cecilia Maribel Flores, who prayed for his intercession while suffering life-threatening complications during a difficult pregnancy.

Pope Francis also approved a miracle for Pope Paul VI, paving the way for his canonisation too.

The Pope now needs to hold a consistory of cardinals to choose the date for the canonisation ceremonies. Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on Tuesday that Paul VI would likely be canonised at the end of the Youth Synod in late October.

Pope Francis also recognised miracles attributed to:

  • Blessed Francesco Spinelli, founder of the Institute of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Blessed Maria Katharina Kasper, founder of the Institute of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ
  • Blessed Vincenzo Romano, an Italian priest
  • Venerable María Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, a Paraguayan nun

He also recognised the martyrdom of Anna Kolesárová, and the heroic virtues of:

  • Bernardo Łubieński, professed priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
  • Cecilio Maria Cortinovis (né Antonio Pietro), professed religious of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
  • Giustina Schiapparoli and Maria Schiapparoli, founders of the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence of Voghera
  • Maria Antonella Bordoni, founder of the Little Daughters of the Mother of God
  • Alessandra Sabattini – Catholic Herald

Pope Francis warns against ‘fake fasting’ during Lent

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta (Vatican Media).

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis’ words of warning against what he called “fake fasting” came during the homily at the morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on 16 Feb 2018.

When fasting, Pope Francis said, a true Christian must be consistent, not putting himself on show, never despising others or engaging in quarrels or disagreements.

Warning against behavior that is inconsistent with the Lenten spirit, the Pope invited those present to ask themselves how they interact with others.

He reflected on the First Reading of the day that highlights how the fasting that is acceptable to the Lord aims to “release those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke.”

Pope Francis reminded believers that fasting is one of the tasks of Lent, and said that even “if you cannot commit to a total fast, the kind that makes you feels hunger in your bones” you can still fast humbly and consistently.

Isaiah, he said, highlights so many inconsistencies in the practice of virtue, like “carrying out your own pursuits, driving all your laborers, and yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting.”

Fasting, the Pope said, is a little like “stripping oneself” of pride. He said that to thank the Lord and at the same time despise your labourers that are forced to fast because they do not have enough to eat is inconsistent and unchristian.

Inviting those present to perform penance in peace, he said, “you cannot talk to God on the one hand and to the devil on the other.”

He also warned against the temptation of ‘showing off’ by fasting: “by making a fuss of it and letting people know that we are practising Catholics and we do penance, so that people think ‘what a good person.’  “This is a trick,” he said, “It’s pretending to be virtuous.”

“We must pretend,” Francis continued, “but with a smile. That is not showing others that we are performing acts of penance.”

He invited the faithful to fast in order “to help others. But always with a smile.”

Fasting, he said, also involves lowering oneself by reflecting on one’s sins and asking forgiveness from the Lord.

How ashamed would I be, he continued, if my sin was to become common knowledge through the press? And referring again to the Scripture Reading of the day he invited Christians to “release unjust bounds.”

“I think of so many maids who work for their bread and they are humiliated and despised … I have never been able to forget the time I went to a friend’s house as a child and I witnessed the mother slapping the 81-year-old maid…”

Reiterating that he has never forgotten that shameful episode, Pope Francis urged the faithful to ask themselves whether they treat their domestic workers with fairness, whether they treat them “as people or as slaves,” whether they are paid a just salary and have the right to holidays and are recognised in their human dignity.

Pope Francis went on to tell another story stemming from personal experience. He said that once, when speaking to a very cultured gentleman who was known to exploit his domestic workers, he explained to him that this is a serious sin because we are all created in the image of God.

And referring again to the First Reading that tells us “to share our bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless, clothe the naked when we see them, not turn our back on our own,” the Pope noted that currently there is much discussion around whether or not to give shelter to those who ask for it.

He exhorted Christians to “do penance,” to “feel a little hunger,” to “pray more during Lent,” and to ask themselves how they behave towards the other.

“Does my fast help others? If it does not it’s fake, it’s inconsistent and it takes you on the path to a double life, pretending to be a just Christian – like the Pharisees or the Sadducees,” he said.

“Let us ask for the grace of consistency,” he said,  “if I am unable to do something, I will not do it. I will do only what I can with the consistency of a true Christian.” – Linda Bordoni, Vatican News

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