“How many poor await the Gospel which brings liberation!”

Francis stressed this in today’s address to the Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization: “Today we face big challenges,” but we must not be afraidto take these on

“Today we face big challenges,” but we must not be afraid to take these on, instead, we must come up with “coherent answers” and be testimonies, particularly for the “many poor who are alone and marginalised” and “are waiting in the existential peripheries of a consumerist society”. Pope Francis said this in his address to the Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, during the course of its plenary session.

In his address, Francis spoke about how to proceed in the Jubilee of Mercy he announced and how to integrate this path into the new evangelisation.
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“Real faith does miracles, not business”

At this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, Francis prayed that our way of practicing the faith does not become “sterile” or concerned with “profiteering”

A faith that is genuine, capable of forgiveness and open to others does miracles. Jesus condemned “spiritual selfishness” and the reduction of religion to “business dealings”. In other words, “the things that are God’s are not to be used for personal profit”. This was Francis’ message at today’s mass in St. Martha’s House.

Today’s Gospel passage points to “three ways of living”: we have the image of the fig tree that does not bear fruit, the men who do business at the temple and the man of faith. “The fig tree is a symbol of sterility, a sterile life that is unable to give anything. A life that does not bear fruit and is incapable of doing good,” Francis said.

“It lives for itself, it is carefree, selfish and does not want to be bothered. Jesus condemns the fig tree because it is sterile, because it hasn’t done its bit to bear fruit. It symbolises those who do nothing to help, who always live for themselves, making sure they want for nothing. In the end such people turn out to be neurotic, all of them! Jesus condemns spiritual sterility, spiritual selfishness. ‘I live for myself, so that I always have eberything I need and desire and let others sort themselves out!’.”
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Theologian to La Civiltà Cattolica: “Yes” to exceptions for divorce and remarriage

The editor-in-chief of the Italian Jesuit periodical interviews the Dominican Jean-Miguel Garrigues, who explains that the Church is not just for the “pure” and strongly criticises Fr. Fessio for his comments about contraception being more serious than abortion

“Francis’s vision is that of a Church for all, because Christ really did die for all men, without exception, not just for some.” The “law of gradualness” does not mean “gradualness of the law” or relativism. It is possible to consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis, admitting remarried divorcees to the sacraments, without changes to the doctrine. This is according to Dominical theologian Jean-Miguel Garrigues, Professor of Patristics and Dogmatics at the Institut Supérieur Thomas d’Aquin, at the Dominican House of Studies in Toulouse and at the Seminaire International St Cure’d Ars. He and his confrère, Cardinal Cristoph Schönborn, the current Archbishop of Vienna, composed the Catechism of the Catholic Church prepared under the supervision of the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Fr. Garrigues discussed the issues of the Synod with Fr. Antonio Spadaro, Editor-in-Chief of La Civiltà Cattolica and the transcription of their conversation appears in the latest issue of the periodical. Although he does not refer to him directly, at one point the Dominican theologian pulls apart the theory put forward by US Jesuit Joseph Fessio, who wrote that contraception can be more serious that abortion.
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Malaysia poised to enact partial ban on Bibles with ‘Allah’

Malaysia’s federal government has drafted guidelines that would ban the importation of Malay-language Bibles in which God is translated as “Allah” into the more populous part of the nation.

Since the 17th century, Christians in what is now Malaysia have used the word “Allah” to refer to God. The nation includes Peninsular Malaysia, where 80% of people live, and East Malaysia, on the island of Borneo, which has a greater Christian presence.

The Malaysian Insider reported that the guidelines permit East Malaysia’s Christians to bring their Bibles into Peninsular Malaysia for “personal use.”
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Monks Ask Prayers for Priest Kidnapped in Syria

A week after abduction, his fate still uncertain

Priests in Syria have appealed for prayers for kidnapped priest Father Jacques Mourad and his colleague as uncertainty about their fate mounts.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need a week after the abduction, Fr Jacques’s confrere, Fr Jihad Youssef, said: “Please pray for Fr Jacques and his companion, as well as for our community.

“Armed masked men took both of them away. We don’t know who it was and where our brothers are at this moment. We’re totally in the dark.”

Fr Youssef is a priest of the order of Mar Musa, a Syriac-Catholic monastic community, of which Fr Jacques is also a member.
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Pell says he is ready to testify before Australian Commission on sex abuse

The Cardinal Prefect of the Vatican Secretary for the Economy said this in a statement during the hearing presided over by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, has stated that he is ready to give evidence in an inquiry over a priest who was accused of child abuse in his native country, Australia.

During the course of the hearings presided over by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last week, the former Archbishop of Sydney was accused of ignoring – in the past – complaints made against paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, transferring him to another parish. He was also accused of trying to bribe one of the victims – the priest’s own nephew – in order to obtain his silence. Another survivor, Timothy Green, who is now 53, told the Commission that he had gone to Fr. Pell at the time to report that Brother Edward Dowlan was abusing boys.
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Lahore Archbishop Saves Christian Community From Mob by Calling on Muslim Leaders’ Aid

Prelate says this is first time authorities have been able to save the people and their homes

The Christian quarter of Lahore was attacked by a mob after a mentally handicapped man was accused of desecrating the Qur’an.

Young Christian man Humayun Faisal Masih was accused of blasphemy after burning some portions of newspaper. According to his accusers the papers contained verses from the Qur’an.

Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore described the events of Sunday evening (24th May) to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

He was alerted to the mob’s actions at seven o’clock, just after they had blocked the traffic in Sanda, a mainly Christian quarter of Lahore, setting fire to tyres and hurling stones at houses.

Archbishop Shaw said: “When a Muslim is accused of blasphemy, it is he alone who pays the consequences.

“However, if it is a Christian who is accused, then the entire Christian community is held responsible.”
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“Parlour room Christians, businessmen and those closed in the faith drive others away from God”

At this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, Francis said these groups of people are “indifferent”, “selfish” and “hypocritical”, they do not hear the calls of those who cry out for Jesus. But there are those who are “coherent” and help bring others close to the Lord

There are three types of faithful, according to Francis: the indifferent, the hypocrites and the coherent. At this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, Francis explained that there are faithful who send people away from Christ but there are also those who really listen to the cries of those in need of God, Vatican Radio reports.

Francis based today’s homily on the Gospel passage about the blind man, Bartimaeus, who cries out to Jesus to be healed and whom the disciples called to be silent.

Francis said “there are Christians who are concerned only with their own relationship with Jesus, a “closed, selfish” relationship, who do not hear the cries of others: This group of people, even today, do not hear the cry of so many people who need Jesus. A group of people who are indifferent: they do not hear, they think that life is their own little group; they are content; they are deaf to the clamour of so many people who need salvation, who need the help of Jesus, who need the Church. These people are selfish, they live for themselves alone. They are unable to hear the voice of Jesus.”
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Cardinal Kasper: Francis wants a hierarchy that listens to ‘sensus fidei’

The former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity spoke Saturday at Washington’s National Cathedral as part of a landmark theological conference on the Second Vatican Council

Pope Francis wants to retool the Catholic hierarchy so that it not only defines and enforces church teachings, but also listens and responds to how laypeople understand God’s will, German Cardinal Walter Kasper said.

Kasper, a noted theologian whose writings are known to have influenced Francis, said the pope wants to create a “listening magisterium.”

Kasper said one concept important to the pope is that of the sensus fidei, or the capacity of individual believers and the church as a whole to discern the truths of faith.

That concept, Kasper said, “was emphasized by the council … [but] Francis now wishes to give it complete meaning.
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Pope on Engagement: ‘There is No Express Marriage’

Highlights Importance of Preparation for Strong Marriages During General Audience

Pope Francis has reaffirmed the value of engagement for a meaningful marriage. During this morning’s weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pontiff continued his catechesis on marriage and the family, and stressed how important this preparation period is in order for couples to properly know each other.

The time of engagement, the Pope said, can truly become a time of experiencing the many spiritual gifts that enrich the family.

The Pope deviated from his remarks to note how in the Bible, specifically in the Book of Jeremiah, God’s relationship with his people is referred to in terms of engagement.
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European, African Bishops to Join in Studying Family

Seminar Will Consider the Family Both as Protagonist of Evangelization and in Need of Being Evangelized

The Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) and The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) will be having a Seminar on the theme The joy of the Family in Maputo, Mozambique from May 28- 31, 2015.

Following a process of growing pastoral collaboration, the two bodies have been organizing meetings for bishops from both continents to strength communion and collaboration and a reflection on major challenges facing the Church .

In the light of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation and in connection with the reflections which will be tackled in the course of the next Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2015 on the Family, the bishops will deliberate on issues relating to the family on the two continents.
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Pope Sends Message on 5th Centenary of St. Philip Neri’s Birth

Calls on Members of Oratory to Follow Example of the ‘Apostle of Rome’

In a letter sent to the members of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, Pope Francis called on them to follow their founder’s example in his commitment to the spiritual care of souls.

The Holy Father sent the message on the 500th anniversary of St. Philip Neri’s birth.

Dubbed the ‘Apostle of Rome’, St. Philp Neri was a renowned priest who cared particularly for the poor children of Rome. He also instituted the Visit to the Seven Churches, a pilgrimage to the 7 ancient basilicas of Rome.

The Holy Father praised the Roman saint’s zeal in caring for the spiritual and material needs of his flock.
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Archbishop Oscar Romero, El Salvador’s most trusted news source

While he was first and foremost a faithful shepherd and a martyr for the faith, a fact now confirmed by the Vatican, Archbishop Oscar Romero was also the most trusted source of news in war-torn El Salvador up until the day he was assassinated on March 24, 1980.
In a country where the major media refused to report on the unbridled military violence, Romero refused to be censored. He refused to be silent — despite getting daily death threats and having his archdiocesan radio station bombed.

Through his homilies, radio broadcasts and reports in the archdiocesan newspaper, every week Romero detailed the tortures, murders and disappearances, making sure that truth would not be the first casualty of war.

The archbishop was not only the most trusted, but frequently the sole source of news about what was happening in the country. His often hourslong homilies, broadcast every Sunday by the archdiocesan radio station YSAX, were the most popular program in the country, with nearly 75 percent of the rural population and 50 percent of the urban population listening in — along with the U.S. Embassy.

That made the station, which also broadcast information from the homilies later in the week, a recurring target of the military, which jammed its signal and bombed its offices.
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Francis: “When wealth is not shared it generates corruption”

At this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, the Pope said that an abundance of things lived selfishly is the origin “of all kinds of corruption,” big or small, “the kind that shortchanges you at the counter, political corruption, corruption in education”

The Pope once again lashed out against corruption at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, the day after his appeal at the Pentecost Sunday Mass, when he called on faithful “to uncompromisingly … battle against sin and corruption”. In this morning’s homily, he reflected on riches which lead to big or small crimes is they are not shared and used for the common good. Furthermore, “an abundance of things lived selfishly is “sad” steals “hope”, Vatican Radio reports the Pope saying.

The Pope based today’s homily on the Gospel scene of the camel and the needles eye which shows how people’s “enthusiasm” for Jesus can turn into “sadness” and “withdrawal into oneself”. The young man meets the Son of God asks Him if he can follow Him, assuring Jesus that he will respect the Commandments always but when Christ pointed out “the one thing[he] lack[ed ]”, in other words, selling everything he had and give to the poor, the man’s face dropped. Suddenly, “the joy and hope” in that young man vanished because he did not want to give up his riches.

Hence, “the attachment to riches is the beginning of all kinds of corruption, everywhere,” Francis highlighted, “personal corruption, corruption in business, even small commercial bribery, the kind that shortchanges you at the counter, political corruption, corruption in education … Why? Because those who live attached to their own power, their own wealth, they believe they’re in heaven. They are closed; they have no horizon, no hope. Eventually they will have to leave everything.”
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Same-sex marriage: “The outcome of the referendum is the result of a cultural revolution”

Interview with the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, on the victory of the “yes” campaigners in the Irish same-sex marriage referendum

“What we witnessed was not just the result of a “yes” or “no” campaign, it is the sign of a phenomenon which goes much deeper, a cultural revolution.” The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, a prelate with a background in Vatican diplomacy who is well versed with the workings of international diplomacy, fought a tough battle against those who wanted to cover up child abuse in the Church when he was appointed head of the Irish capital’s diocese. Mgr. Martin offers some spur of the moment comments on the outcome of the referendum and the overwhelming victory of the “yes” campaigners in the vote on same-sex marriage. He doesn’t play the victim but admits there is a substantial divide between Irish society and the Catholic Church.

Did you expect a flood of “yes” votes on same-sex marriage?
“I knew the “yes” campaigners had won when I saw the high turnout for “yes” votes. There were people queuing outside polling stations even before the doors opened. Many young people working outside Ireland came back especially to vote. The “yes” campaign was backed by all political parties, very few politicians personally expressed themselves against. The Prime Minister and all leaders joined the “yes” campaign in the streets and in gay bars.”
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Pope Francis’ Message for 2015 World Mission Sunday

“Today, the Church’s mission is faced by the challenge of meeting the needs of all people to return to their roots and to protect the values of their respective cultures.”

Below is the Vatican-provided text of Pope Francis’ message for the 89th World Mission Sunday to be celebrated October 18, 2015:

***

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The 2015 World Mission Sunday 2015 takes place in the context of the Year of Consecrated Life, which provides a further stimulus for prayer and reflection. For if every baptized person is called to bear witness to the Lord Jesus by proclaiming the faith received as a gift, this is especially so for each consecrated man and woman. There is a clear connection betweenconsecrated life and mission. The desire to follow Jesus closely, which led to the emergence of consecrated life in the Church, responds to his call to take up the cross and follow him, to imitate his dedication to the Father and his service and love, to lose our life so as to gain it. Since Christ’s entire existence had a missionary character, so too, all those who follow him closely must possess this missionary quality.
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Pope Francis’ Regina Coeli Address on Pentecost Sunday

“We too are given the gift of the ‘language’ of the Gospel and the ‘fire’ of the Holy Spirit, because while we proclaim the risen Jesus, alive and present in our midst, we warm the hearts of people bringing them closer to Him, way, truth and life.”

Below is a translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Regina Coeli this Pentecost Sunday in St. Peter’s Square:

***

Before the Regina Coeli:

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The feast of Pentecost makes us relive the beginnings of the Church. The book of Acts says that, fifty days after the Passover, in the house where the disciples were, Jesus, “Suddenly, a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven … And they were calmed and filled with the Holy Spirit. From this outpouring, the disciples are completely transformed: the fear is replaced by courage, the closure gives way to the announcement, and any doubt is cast out by faith, full of love. And ‘the “baptism” of the Church, as such was starting its journey in history, driven by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
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Blessed Romero is an “example of the best children of the Church”

In a letter sent to the Archbishop of San Salvador, Mgr. José Luis Escobar, Francis said Romero was able to “hear the suffering of his people”

Mgr. Oscar Romero “knew how to lead, defend and protect his flock,” with “a particular attention to the most poor and marginalized,” until “he received the grace to identify himself fully with He who gave his life for his sheep” at the moment of his death. This is how Pope Francis describes the Salvadoran bishop proclaimed a Blessed yesterday, in a letter sent to the Archbishop of San Salvador and President of the local Bishops’ Conference, José Luis Escobar. This beatification, Bergoglio writes, “is a cause for great joy for the Salvadoran people and for those who rejoice by the example of the best children of the Church”.
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Pentecost Sunday B

Reading I: Acts 2:1-11
Responsorial Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
or Galatians 5:16-25
Gospel: John 20:19-23 or John 15:26-27; 16:12-15

If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.
(Second Reading)

Who Am I to Judge?

Perhaps the single, most-often quoted line from Pope Francis is his response to a question he was asked vis-à-vis the morality of a particularly-dicey issue. His, infamous-famous reply: Who am I to judge?

Although this remark is often assumed to be flighty and less-than-serious; it is, in fact, on pretty safe ground. Jesus, it seems, says basically the same thing. For example, in his conversation with Nicodemus in John’s Gospel, he, in essence, says: I judge no one.

If the Gospel of John is to be believed, then Jesus judges no one. God judges no one. But that needs to be put into context. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t any moral judgments and that our actions are indifferent to moral scrutiny. There is judgment; except it doesn’t work the way it is fantasized inside the popular mind. According to what Jesus tells us in John’s Gospel, judgment works this way:

God’s light, God’s truth, and God’s spirit come into the world. We then judge ourselves according to how we live in the face of them: God’s light has come into the world, but we can choose to live in darkness. That’s our decision, our judgment. God’s truth has been revealed, but we can choose to live in falsehood, in lies. That’s our decision, our judgment to make. And God’s spirit has come into the world, but we can prefer to live outside that spirit, in another spirit. That too is our decision, our judgment. God judges no one. We judge ourselves. Hence we can also say that God condemns no one, though we can choose to condemn ourselves. And God punishes no one, but we can choose to punish ourselves. Negative moral judgment is self-inflicted. Perhaps this seems abstract, but it is not. We know this existentially, we feel the brand of our own actions inside us. To use just one example: How we judge ourselves by the Holy Spirit.
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IOR: Pope rejects the setup of an investment fund

Francis has said “no” to an initiative put forward by the President of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) and approved by the Institute’s board, for the creation of a SICAV investment fund in Luxembourg for the management of deposits

The decision had been given the green light by the IOR’s lay Board of Superintendence. But it was halted first by the body’s supervisory Commission of Cardinals and then by the Pope himself. The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) will not have its own SICAV – (Société d’Investissement à Capital Variable) a type of investment fund that has a variable share capital. The IOR’s president, jean-Baptiste de Franssu had wanted to set up this fund in Luxembourg. Francis has, since the very start of his pontificate, opposed the IOR’s tendency in some cases to behave like an investment bank. The reform of the Vatican’s finances also means making choices like this, in order to underline the unique nature of the “Vatican bank” and ensure that it remains true to the original purpose for which it was created.
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