White House to Receive Pope Francis on September 23rd

President Obama and Pontiff To Discuss Poverty, Environment Protection of Religious Minorities

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will receive Pope Francis at the White House on September 23rd. The announcement was made today by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today.

“During the visit, the President and the Pope will continue the dialogue, which they began during the President’s visit to the Vatican in March 2014, on their shared values and commitments on a wide range of issues,” the statement from the Press Secretary read.
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By vassallomalta Posted in News

Pope’s Morning Homily: The Joy of the Gospel is the Touchstone of One’s Faith

Says That Without Joy, There is Only “Cold Doctrine”

To be joyful is a grace that only comes from faith and not from doctrine or law that is detached from love. This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning.

According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on today’s readings, both of which spoke on Abraham. In John’s Gospels, Jesus tells the scribes and doctors of the law that “Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.”

The Pope said that the doctors of the law did not understand what Jesus meant because they did not understand the joy of hope, of promise and of the covenant.

“They did not know how to rejoice, because they lost the meaning of joy that only comes from faith,” he said. “Our father Abraham was able to rejoice because he had faith: he was made just in faith. These lost their faith. They were doctors of the law, but without faith! But more so: they lost the law! Because the center of the law is love, love for God and for neighbor.”
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Cardinal Tauran promotes dialogue with Islam for a peaceful world

He did so during a conference organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Imam al-Khoei Foundation linked to Iraqi Shiite Islam

In a world scarred by war and violence, leaders of world religions must engage in dialogue in order to build a world of peace. This is the message sent out by the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran in a speech he pronounced this morning at a conference organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Imam al-Khoei Foundation in Rome. The Imam al-Khoei Foundation is an international foundation linked to Islam’s foremost religious authority, the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. The theme of today’s conference was: “Catholics-Shiite dialogue regarding the responsibilities of faithful in a plural world, in the name of peace”.
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By vassallomalta Posted in News

Coutts: “Terrorism is a challenge to Pakistan, not just Christians”

According to the President of Pakistan’s Catholic Bishops Conference, acts of persecution are not being focused on a specific group. Solidarity between Catholics and Muslims is growing

“The persecution we are witnessing in Pakistan is not specifically targeted at Christians. A few days ago there was an attack on a Shiite Mosque. The places being hit are schools, hospitals, churches, markets: all easy targets. The challenge to the country is being posed by groups that reject democracy and want to establish a theocracy.” In an interview with Vatican insider, the Archbishop of Karachi and President of Pakistan’s Catholic Bishops Conference, Joseph Coutts, urged against “narrowing our field of vision” and stressed that the current suffering of Pakistan’s Christians is part of a wider terrorism issue that is really putting the nation to the test. “Christians are dying just like Shiites, Ahmadis and other Muslims are. We are not the only ones being targeted. This is part of a vaster international phenomenon involving the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East and Boko Haram in Africa,” he explained.
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By vassallomalta Posted in News

Dublin Archbishop Recalls Synod, Reflects on Ireland’s Debate on Marriage

Here are the speaking notes of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin on the Church’s teaching on marriage today, a lecture given last week to the Iona Institute.

* * *

“I am grateful to the Iona Institute for this invitation to come and speak to the Institute on the theme of The Teaching of the Church on Marriage Today. I thank the Director, Mr David Quinn, and I thank the Chair of this evening’s session, Dr John Murray. I speak as a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church about the Church’s teaching on marriage but also on the place of marriage, a natural institution, in fostering social stability in any society.

The theme of marriage and the family is at the heart of reflection in the Church worldwide at this time in the light of the Synodal reflection initiated by Pope Francis. This reflection involves also a discussion about marriage and the family in every Catholic diocese across the world. The interest that is being shown in the discussion process is an indication of how people consider a strong culture of marriage and the family as vital in society in any part of the world. Marriage and family matter deeply to all.

It is interesting that both Pope John Paul and Pope Francis took the family as the theme for their first Synod. Both had been diocesan bishops up to the moment of their election in two totally very different cultures – one in a country under communist persecution and the other in the challenging and changing religious reality of Latin America – yet both saw clearly, each from his own perspective, firstly how Christian marriage and the family are vital for the transmission of the faith and secondly how marriage and the family as human institutions are vital for the stability of society. Both saw the need not just to defend the teaching of the Church, but to foster a broad social understanding of the role of marriage and the family and to present that understanding in an attractive and an appealing way in the real situations of today’s changing world.
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Pope’s Morning Homily: Christ Took the ‘Poison’ of Our Sin Upon Himself

Calls on Faithful to Flee From the Temptation of Becoming ‘Yes, But’ Christians

In his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Pope Francis called on Christians to pray in this Holy Week for the grace to accept difficult moments.

According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on today’s first reading from the Book of Numbers in which God punished the people of Israel for their complaining by sending fiery serpents that bit and poisoned them.

Drawing comparison from the reading to daily life, the Pope said that many times, even Christians have this tendency to rebel against God or try to seek salvation on their own terms. Calling them, “‘Yes, but…’ Christians”, the Pope said that they do not open their hearts to God’s salvation, but rather place conditions.

“‘Yes, but this!’ ‘Yes, yes, yes, I want to be saved but through this path.’ Thus the heart becomes poisoned,” the Pope said.
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Synod leader: the Pope’s ‘great revolution’ is one of ‘language and attitudes’

In an address to the bishops of Slovakia, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops said that “the great revolution” of Pope Francis is “the revolution of language and attitudes, in integral fidelity to the doctrine of all time, the revolution of tenderness and mercy.”

The Pope teaches us “not to indulge in defeatism and to avoid polarizations,” Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri said on March 24. There is “a new style, in which the contents of the irrenouncable Gospel of life are all reaffirmed and proclaimed,” while “avoiding the temptation to impose unbearable burdens.”
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By vassallomalta Posted in Synod

Pope Sends Condolence Message Following Plane Crash in French Alps

Invokes Divine Blessings of Strength, Consolation to Victims’ Loved Ones

Pope Francis has sent his heartfelt condolences to the families of victims killed in a deadly plane crash in the French Alps yesterday that claimed at least 150 lives including children.

The telegram was sent yesterday on behalf of the Holy Father by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Bishop Jean-Philippe Nault of Digne.

Yesterday morning, Germanwings flight 9525, an Airbus A320, on its way from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, crashed in the French Alps. There were no survivors.

In the telegram, the Pope expresses how upon hearing of the flight which claimed many lives in the French region, including children, he immediately shared in the grief of the families. He assured them of his closeness.
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Pope At General Audience: Synod of Bishops Needs Prayers, Not Gossip

Leads Faithful in Prayer for Synod on the Family in October

Pope Francis called on the faithful to join in prayers for the Synod of the Family in October

Despite heavy rains in Rome this morning, thousands gathered in St. Peter to listen to the Holy Father. “Good morning but it is not a pretty day,” the Pope said regarding the weather. He then asked the faithful to give a round of applause for the sick and disabled who were watching the audience from a big screen at the Paul VI audience hall.

The Pope said that he would “pause for prayer” from his catechesis on the family. The feast of the Annunciation, which the Church celebrates today, shows how “profound is the mystery of the Incarnation, as God wanted, which includes not only the conception in the womb of the mother, but also being welcomed in a true family.”

After leading the faithful in praying the Hail Mary, the Pope also noted that today is the World Day for Life and the 20th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life).
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Benedict XVI no longer writing on theology, Archbishop Gänswein reports

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI no longer has the physical strength to tackle new writing projects, his longtime personal secretary has disclosed.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein told the Italian magazine Oggi that with the publication of the 3-volume work Jesus of Nazareth, which he completed during his pontificate, Benedict has “concluded his theological work.” The archbishop said that the retired Pontiff remains mentally alert, and shows a “great memory,” but does not have the stamina for extended work sessions.
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By vassallomalta Posted in News

150 Homeless to Visit Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel

Vatican Also Preps for Pope’s Second Lottery for Charity

The papal almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, has organized a visit for 150 homeless to visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Thursday in the early afternoon, reports Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Archbishop Krajewski has spearheaded different initiatives tied to helping the poor this year, including calling for the installation of showers at the Vatican for Rome’s homeless.

Those participating in Thursday’s Vatican excursion will be divided into three groups. Each tour will enjoy seeing inside the Vatican, even passing by the Pope’s residence Casa Santa Marta.

In addition, the Office of Papal Charities is prepping for Pope Francis’ second lottery draw which will take place on the Solemnity of the Saints Peter and Paul, June 29. The lucky numbers draw is scheduled for July 30.
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Encyclical on environment nearly finished, Vatican spokesman reveals

Pope Francis is expected to complete drafting an encyclical on the environment this week, the Vatican press office has said.

Father Ciro Benedettini, the deputy director of the press office, said that the encyclical is likely to be released during the summer. Pope Francis has said that he wants to allow time for discussion of the encyclical in advance of a UN meeting on climate change that will take place in December in Paris.

By vassallomalta Posted in News

Pope’s Morning Homily: Christ Took the ‘Poison’ of Our Sin Upon Himself

Calls on Faithful to Flee From the Temptation of Becoming ‘Yes, But’ Christians

In his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Pope Francis called on Christians to pray in this Holy Week for the grace to accept difficult moments.

According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on today’s first reading from the Book of Numbers in which God punished the people of Israel for their complaining by sending fiery serpents that bit and poisoned them.

Drawing comparison from the reading to daily life, the Pope said that many times, even Christians have this tendency to rebel against God or try to seek salvation on their own terms. Calling them, “‘Yes, but…’ Christians”, the Pope said that they do not open their hearts to God’s salvation, but rather place conditions.

“‘Yes, but this!’ ‘Yes, yes, yes, I want to be saved but through this path.’ Thus the heart becomes poisoned,” the Pope said.
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O’Brien and the others: History’s former cardinals

Before the Scottish bishop who lost his rights and powers but not his formal title, 23 other cardinals either resigned or were dismissed for a variety of reasons

Although Scottish archbishop Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien – who has just been divested of his cardinalatial rights and powers (participation in the Conclave and in Consistories) – gets to formally keep the title of cardinal, it remains just that, a decorative title devoid of any significance. As such, he joins a list of 23 other cardinals who have lost this position from the 15th century onwards. The list of legitimate and illegitimate cardinals who for various reasons lost their rights and powers as cardinals between 1440 and today was published by Italian religious news blog Il Sismografo and is based on documentation provided by Salvador Miranda.

The pseudo-cardinals, the monk and the Duke of Valentinois
The list begins with the names of four former cardinals who lived in the 15th century: Johann Grünwalder, Otón de Moncada y de Luna; Wincenty Kotz Dębna e Bartolomeo Vitelleschi. They are considered “pseudo-cardinals” because they were all elevated to the Cardinalate between 1440 and 1449 by the Antipope Felix V. The case of young Ardicino Della Porta, who was created cardinal in March 1489, was quite different. Three years later he retired to a Camaldolese monastery with the Pope’s permission. He was summoned back to Rome to take part in the Conclave that elected Rodrigo Borgia Pope Alexander VI. He fell ill and died a short while later. The list of former cardinals that lived in this century ends with one of Alexander VI’s illegitimate sons, Cesare. His father had him appointed bishop, archbishop and then cardinal in 1493. Five years later he asked his father for permission to withdraw from ecclesiastical life, which he obtained, resigning from the cardinalate.
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Patriarch Twal Invites President Abbas to Canonization Mass for Nuns From Holy Land at Vatican

Palestinian President Expressed His Gratitude, Praised Church’s Contributions

Patriarch Fouad Twal has invited the president of Palestine to attend the Canonization Mass of Blessed Mary Alphonsine Ghattas and Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified Baouardy this May 17.

According to abouna.org, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem extended the invitation to President Mahmoud Abbas to the Mass for the two Palestinian and one French sisters during the Patriarch’s visit to the presidential headquarters in Ramallah yesterday.

While saying preparations are underway, His Beatitude stressed this Canonization is a historic and qualitative event at the religious, ecclesiastical and national levels.

In response to the invitation, the Palestinian President thanked Patriarch Twal and recognized the sanctity of the Holy Land and the role the Local Church plays in helping society, especially in healthcare and education.
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By vassallomalta Posted in News

Assyrian Bishop Writes Letter to Islamic State Demanding Release of Christian Hostages

Denies Any Association With Warring Groups in Syrian Conflict

The Assyrian Church of the East has reaffirmed that it is not associated with any of the warring parties in the Syrian conflict.

According to Fides, Assyrian Bishop Afram Athnil wrote to leaders of the Islamist State insisting that Christians are “unrelated to the culture of weapons,” and demanding the release of the hundreds of Christian hostages in jihadists’ hands.

In the Khabur Valley, hundreds of Assyrian Christians have been taken hostage by terrorists.

In the letter, the Assyrian Bishop underscored, no faction or militia operating in Syria can present themselves as a military wing connected to the Assyrian Christian communities.
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Pope’s Morning Homily: No Mercy, No Justice

Denounces Corruption of Those Who Judge Unjustly During Mass at Casa Santa Marta

The Word of God makes it clear that only through mercy can true justice can be delivered. This was the reflection given by Pope Francis during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today.

According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father focused on today’s readings as well as a different Gospel passage, which presented three different women in history. The first from the Book of Daniel is the wife of Joakim named Susanna, an innocent woman sentenced unjustly to death. The second, from the Gospel, was the adulterous woman sentenced to be stoned and the third, a poor widow in need.

The Pope said that all three are allegorical figures of the Church: the Holy Church, the Sinful Church and the Needy Church. Those who falsely accused, condemned or unjustly wronged them, he noted, were scribes or judges that Jesus denounced as ‘hypocrites’.
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Congo Prelate Says Priest Probably Murdered for Condemning Criminality

Young Priest Shot Last Month in Mweso

A bishop from the Democratic Republic of Congo has condemned last month’s murder of a priest in the strongest possible terms.

Bishop Théophile Kaboy, in a letter to the country’s papal nuncio—a copy of which was given to international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need—condemned the Feb. 25 murder of Father Jean-Paul Kakule in the east of the country as an “abominable, abhorrent and infernal act.” Father Kakule was treasurer of the parish of Mweso in the Goma Diocese. He was gunned down by an unidentified assassin as he was closing up the church for the evening.

Father Kakule (33) was the oldest child of a large Christian family from North Kivu. Ordained in 2003, he is the 10th priest to be murdered in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1992, reported Bishop Kaboy. In addition, five sisters of the Congregation of Saint Vincent de Paul disappeared in 1996. There has been no trace of them to this day.
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Cardinal Turkson Explains Hopes to Help 16,000 Ebola Orphans

Pontifical Council President Shares Details of Holy See’s New Fund to Aid Epidemic Stricken Nations

In the face of the Ebola epidemic that to date has claimed some 10,000 lives and is still wreaking havoc in West Africa, the Holy See through the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is launching an initiative which, with a fund of €3 million, will help fight the epidemic and its long-lasting effects.

In this interview Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the pontifical council, discussed how the “Expanding the Catholic Church’s Commitment to the Ebola Emergency Response” initiative came to be and how it plans to address issues and challenges, together with his hopes for the project based on the Holy Father’s support and their discussions.

The Ebola Emergency Response initiative aims at strengthening Catholic hospitals and clinics, helping families and local communities to be informed, and helping religious and other pastoral caregivers learn the basics about the disease including strategies for providing spiritual consolation and hope to those affected.
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Pope Francis: Christ’s Death is An ‘Inexhaustible Source of New Life’

Pocket-Sized Gospels Distributed by Homeless Volunteers to the Faithful During Angelus Address

To those who wish to see Jesus, the Church offers three things: the Gospel, the Crucifix and the witness of faith. This was the central theme of Pope Francis Angelus address this morning to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Low temperatures and cold rain didn’t stop thousands of faithful from trying to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father the day after his pastoral visit to Naples yesterday. “Despite the awful weather many of you have come,” the Pope said. “You are very brave. Even the marathon runners are very brave. I greet you affectionately!”

The Holy Father also thanked the people of Naples as well: “I want to once again thank all Neapolitans for their very warm welcome, they were so good. Thank you so much!”
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By vassallomalta Posted in Angelus