Pope Francis
(06-03-2014, 03:54 AM)Poche Wrote: Five hundred children identified by the Italian education ministry as being at risk of dropping out of school traveled to Rome and met with Pope Francis on May 31.

The meeting took place under the auspices of the Pontifical Council of Culture’s “Courtyard of the Gentiles of Children” initiative.

In his conversation with the nine- and ten-year-olds, who presented him with dirt from the catacombs, Pope Francis spoke about the darkness of the dirt being brought to the light.

He added:

When the Apostle John, who was such a good friend of Jesus, wanted to say who God is, do you know what he said? “God is love.”

“God is love. And we go forward together toward the light to find the love of God. But is the love of God within us, even in moments of darkness? Is the love of God hidden there? Yes, always! The love of God never leaves us. It is always with us. Let us have faith in this love.

  What a beautiful thing to say to those children, I pray that they always remember that message.
During the general audience in St. Peter's Square, he turned to Piedmontese dialect of his grandparents, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, to guard believers against the misunderstandings that can arise with regard to “compassion”. Continuing with a series of reflections on the gifts of the Spirit, Pope Francis stressed that “compassion” is not to be confused with “pity”, a “face in a holy picture”, "pretending to be a saint”, “in the Piedmontese dialect - he added - we say “mugna quacia”.

"Today - said the Pope, who in recent weeks has spoken of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude and science - we want to dwell on a gift of the Holy Spirit which is often misunderstood or considered in a superficial way, but which touches our heart, our identity and our Christian life: it is the gift of compassion.  We must immediately clarify that this gift is not to be identified with having compassion for someone, having pity of others, but indicates that we belong to God and our profound bond with him, a bond that gives meaning to our entire lives and keeps us firmly in communion with him, even in the most difficult and troubled moments”.



This bond with the Lord, continued Bergoglio at arms, “should not be intended as a duty or imposition: some people think that having compassion means closing your eyes, adopting the expression of a holy picture, pretending to be a saint; but this is not the gift of compassion. In the Piedmontese dialect we say “mugna quacia”, an expression that the etymological dictionaries translate as a sly person, a placid nun, an innocent face, but “this is not compassion” the Pope said,  “but rather it is a relationship lived with the heart: it is our friendship with God, donated to us by Jesus, a friendship that changes our lives and fills us with enthusiasm and joy. For this reason, the gift of compassion first of all awakens in us gratitude and praise. This is in fact the reason and the most authentic meaning of our cult and our worship. When the Holy Spirit makes us feel the presence of the Lord and all His love for us, it warms our heart and moves us quite naturally to prayer and celebration. Compassion, therefore, is synonymous of authentic religious spirit, of childlike trust in God, that ability to pray to him with that love and simplicity that is typical of people that are humble at heart”.

Pope Francis then stressed the “the very, very close relationship” between the gift of compassion and that of meekness:  “The gift of compassion that is given to us by the Holy Spirit makes us meek, makes us calm, patient, at peace with God: at the service of others with gentleness”.  “We ask the Lord - concluded Pope Francis – that the gift of his Spirit overcome our fears, our uncertainties, including our restless and impatient Spirit, and can make us joyful witnesses of God and of his love, worshiping the Lord in truth and also at the service of our brothers, with meekness and also with a smile that the Holy Spirit always gives when there is joy.  May the Holy Spirit offer all of us this gift of compassion. "

Pope Francis criticized Catholics who “rent the Church, but do not claim it as their home,” in a homily at Mass on June 5.

Reflecting on Christ’s prayer for unity among his followers, the Pope referred to three sorts of temptation against Christian unity; he called them “uniformism, alternativism, and exploitationism.”

Those who embrace “uniformism,” the Pope said, demand a rigid approach to the faith. “They do not have the freedom that the Holy Spirit gives,” he said, and “their attitude drives them away from the Church.”

“Alternativism,” the Pontiff continued, is found in those Catholics who offer their own preferred alternatives to the teachings of the Church, refusing to accept the guidance.

As for “exploitationism,” the Pope spoke of “those who seek benefits” from the Church. “They strut their stuff as benefactors,” the Pontiff said, rather than loving the Church as their mother

The Beatitudes  are a Christian's "identity card" and "life plan", said Pope Francis at Mass Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta, during which he described gossipers as "enemies of peace".

Vatican Radio reported that, reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day  on the Beatitudes, Pope Francis noted that "if you ask yourself how to become a good Christian,  this is where you can find Jesus's answer, an answer - he said - that points to an attitude that is currently very much against the tide: Blessed are the poor in spirit. Wealth - Francis pointed out - offers no guarantee, in fact - he continued - when the heart is rich and self-satisfied, it has no place for the Word of God: "Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted".

The world tells us that happiness, joy and entertainment are the best things in life. And it looks the other way when there are problems of disease or pain in the family. The world does not want to suffer, it prefers to ignore painful situations, to cover them up. Only the person who sees things as they are, and whose heart mourns, will be happy and will be comforted. Thanks to the consolation of Jesus, not to that of the world. Blessed are the meek in this world which is filled with wars, arguments, hatred. And Jesus says: no war, no hatred. Peace and meekness."

Pope Francis continued saying "if you are meek in life, people will think you are not clever". Let them think that - he said - "but you are meek because with this meekness you will inherit the Earth". "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness". It is so easy - the Pope observed - to become part of the corrupt and referred to "that daily approach of '- Everything is business". How much injustice does that approach cause - he noted - and how many people suffer because of injustice. And Jesus says: "Blessed are they who fight against injustice. Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy". The merciful - the Pope said - "those who forgive and understand the mistakes of others". Jesus - he pointed out - does not say "blessed are they who seek revenge".

"Blessed are they who forgive, who are merciful. Because we are all part of an army of people who have been forgiven! We have all been forgiven. That is why blessed is he who undertakes this path of forgiveness. Blessed are the pure of heart, they who have a simple, pure heart without dirt, a heart that knows how to love with purity. Blessed are peace-makers. But it is so common amongst us to be war-makers or perpetrators of misunderstandings! When I hear something from one person, and I go and say it to someone else in a second, enlarged, edition... the world of gossip. People who gossip, who do not make peace, are enemies of peace. They are not blessed".
"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness". How many people - Pope Francis said - have been persecuted, "and continue to be persecuted simply for having fought for justice". And recalling the Beatitudes, the Pope pointed out that they represent "a program for life offered to us by Jesus": "So simple and yet so difficult".

And he said: "if we are searching for more, Jesus gives us other indications" as written in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 25: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was ill and you cared for me,  I was in prison and you visited me". With these two things - the Beatitudes and Matthew 25 - "one can live a holy, Christian life".

"Few words, simple words, but practical for all. Because Christianity is a practical religion: it is not just to be imagined, it is to be practiced. If you have some time at home today, take the Gospel, Matthew's Gospel, chapter five. At the beginning there are the Beatitudes; in chapter 25 the rest. And it will do you good to read them once, twice, three times. Read this program for holiness. May the Lord give us the grace to understand his message".

Pope Francis condemned “the idolatry of money,” defended the record of Pope Pius XII, expressed misgivings about European separatist movements, and dismissed concerns about his own personal safety, in a new interview with the Spanish daily La Vanguardia.

(A complete English-language translation of the wide-ranging Vanguardia interview has been posted on the Catholic News Agency web site.)

The Pope revealed that when he first thought of inviting Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican to pray together, he met with near-universal skepticism. But the idea gradually gained support, he said, and the meeting was a historic success.

When asked about his own place in history, however, the Pontiff shrugged off the question. “I have not thought about it,” he said, “but I like it when someone remembers someone and says: ‘He was a good guy, he did what he could. He wasn’t so bad.’ I’m OK with that.”

The Pope spoke emphatically about the persecution of Christians today, saying that it is “stronger than in the first centuries of the Church.” He said that he did not often speak about persecution because he does not want to give offense, but he remarked that “in some places it is prohibited to have a Bible or teach the catechism or wear a cross.”

Regarding the world’s economic system, the Pope insisted that a healthy system should be centered on the needs of men and women. “But we have put money at the center, the god of money,” he lamented. “We have fallen into a sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money.”

Pope Francis said that it “gives me a rash” when he hears criticism of Pope Pius XII for his alleged indifference to the Holocaust. He said that historical records will show that the wartime Pontiff took great strides to protect Jews from the Nazi genocide, and expressed confidence that when Vatican archives are opened up, they will show the extent of Pope Pius’ efforts.

Commenting on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope spoke of the possibility that his predecessor would be one of many eventual “popes emeritus.” He pointed out that until recently there were no emeritus bishops, but now there are many all around the world. Pope Francis also recalled that he had submitted his own resignation as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and arranged for a place in a home for retired priests, before he was elected Roman Pontiff.

Turning to the question of movements of autonomy in Europe, the Pope alluded to the savagery unleashed by the break-up of Yugoslavia. He suggested that in places like Scotland and Catalonia, it would be wise to take separatist ambitions “with a lot of grains of salt.”

The Pope made light of concerns about his personal safety, dismissing concerns that he has refused to travel in a bulletproof Popemobile. “I know what could happen, but it is in God’s hands,” he said. He said that he could not tolerate travel in an armored “sardine can,” and laughed that “at my age I don’t have much to lose.”

Finally, the Pope—known as an avid soccer fan—said that he is interested in the World Cup tournament, but would try not to be a partisan fan. “I have promised to be neutral,” he said.

The board of directors of the Populorum Progressio Foundation, the papal charity that funds education and development efforts for the poor in Latin America, gathered in Rome from June 11 to 13 and announced it granted $1.8 million to 125 projects.

Pope Francis held a 40-minute private audience with the directors in which he emphasized that “Catholic institutions are not NGOs [non-governmental organizations],” according to a statement issued by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum on June 16.

Recalling the yearning for God and eternity in the heart of every person, the Pope also emphasized that the corporal works of mercy “should not be separated from the spiritual,” according to the statement.

In addition, the Pope recalled several of the more frequent themes of his pontificate: the idolatry of money, the discarding of children and the elderly, and the problem of widespread youth unemployment.

Pope Francis warned on Friday against legalizing drugs, calling addiction an "evil" which he said had to be resisted without compromise.

Setting himself against the trend in several western countries to allow the use of so-called soft drugs like marijuana, Francis said narcotics were putting more and more young people in danger.

"Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise, he said in remarks to a drug enforcement conference in Rome carried on the website of Vatican Radio.

The remarks came a day before the pontiff is due to visit Italy's Calabria, home of the powerful 'Ndrangheta mafia, which controls a significant share of the global trade in illegal narcotics.

"Here I would reaffirm what I have stated on another occasion: No to every type of drug use. It is as simple as that," he said.

Francis, who has spoken out against drug use several times, said that to ensure young people did not fall prey to drugs, society had to say "'yes' to life, 'yes' to love, 'yes' to others, 'yes' to education, 'yes' to greater job opportunities".

"If we say 'yes' to all these things, there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction," he said in remarks to a drug enforcement conference in Rome carried on the website of Vatican radio.

"The scourge of drug use continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable commerce which transcends national and continental borders," he said.

The comments came as the state of New York prepared on Friday to pass measures that should lead to its becoming the 23rd U.S. state to allow medical use of marijuana.

Uruguay, which has already legalized the production and sale of cannabis, also said it would also allow doctors to prescribe the drug to treat certain conditions.

"Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called 'recreational drugs', are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects," the pope said

Francis’ strong anti-mafia warning during the mass held at Piana di Sibari “No to the ‘ndrangheta, they adore money and have contempt for good”
“The mafia is not in communion with God, they are excommunicated”. Francesco bellows out: “The ‘ndrangheta is this: adoration of evil and contempt for the common good. This evil must be fought, distanced, we must tell them ‘no’. The Church which is so committed to educating consciences, must always expend itself even more so that good can prevail. Our young people ask this of us. Our children, in need of hope. Faith can help us meet these needs”. Even in these “moments of difficulty”, evil will not have the last word, so “do not allow them to steal you hope”, encourages the Pope. And “for this faith, we renounce Satan and all his temptations; we renounce the idols of  money, vanity, pride and power”.


In Calabria, a region plagued by unemployment and organised crime, Francis bellows out a cry of hope and encourages the faithful to oppose “the evil, injustice, violence with the power of the good, the true, and the beautiful”. A tangible sign of hope is the Policoro Project, “for young people who want to get involved and create job opportunities for themselves and others. You, dear youngsters, do not let them steal your hope”. “By loving Jesus in your hearts and standing by Him you will know how to oppose evil, injustice and violence with the power of good, truth and beauty”.


The bishop of Cassano Jonio and secretary of the CEI ensured him that “the Calabrian Church is committed to awakening the public conscience to organised crime” because “crime feeds on sleeping consciences”. On the way from Cassano all’Jonio towards Marina di Sibari, where the Pope held mass in a crowded clearing, Francis made time for a brief stop outside of the parochial church of San Giuseppe, in Lattughelle, where on 3 March this year, the diocesan priest, father Lazzaro Longobardi, was murdered.



Then at the Piana di Sibari, the Pontiff presided at the Eucharist celebration, concelebrated by the bishops of Calabria and 207 priests. "On the feast of Corpus Domini, we celebrate Jesus “living bread that came down from heaven”, food for our hunger for eternal life, strength for our journey – announced Francis in the homily -. I thank the Lord, who today allows me to celebrate Corpus Domini with you, brothers and sisters of this Church, which is in Cassano allo Jonio. Today’s feast is that on which the Church praises the Lord for the gift of the Eucharist. While on Holy Thursday, we recall its institution at the Last Supper, today thanksgiving and adoration predominate. And, in fact, it is tradition on this day to have the procession with the Blessed Sacrament. To adore Jesus Eucharist and to walk with him. These are the two inseparable aspects of today’s feast, two aspects that mark the entire life of the Christian people: a people that adores God and walks with him". Pope Bergoglio, stressed that “these are the two inseparable aspects of today’s feast, two aspects that mark the entire life of the Christian people: a people that adores God and walks with him”. Infact, "we are a people who adores God. We adore God, who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave himself for us, offered himself on the cross to expiate our sins and by the power of this love he rose from death and lives in his Church".

Therefore “We have no other God than this and today we confess this with our gaze turned to Corpus Domini, to the Sacrament of the altar”. And “we, Christians, do not want to adore anything or anyone in this world except Jesus Christ, who is present in the Holy Eucharist”. 


He added “perhaps we do not always realize what this means in all its depth, the consequences our profession of faith has or should have. Today we ask the Lord to enlighten us and to convert us, so that we truly adore only him and we renounce evil in all its forms”. But “our faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, in the consecrated bread and wine, is authentic if we commit to follow him and to walk with him, seeking to put into practice his commandment which he gave to the disciples at the Last Supper: ‘Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another’. A people who adores God in the Eucharist is a people who walks in charity”.


So “Today, as bishop of Rome, I am here to confirm you not only in faith but also in charity, to accompany you and to encourage you in your journey with Jesus Charity. I want to express my support to the bishop, the priests and the deacons of this Church, and also of the Eparchy of Lungro, rich in its Greek-Byzantine tradition. But I extend it to all the pastors and faithful of the Church in Calabria, courageously committed to evangelization and to promoting lifestyles and initiatives which put at the centre the needs of the poor.

He extends his support also to “the civil authorities who seek to live political and administrative commitment for what it is—a service to the common good”. In fact, “thank God, there are many signs of hope in your families, parishes, associations and ecclesial movements.  The Lord Jesus does not cease to inspire acts of charity in his people who journey”.

The open area of Sibari transformed as the hours passed into a sea of colours. Looking down on the crowds you could see thousands of sun parasols that coloured the various areas of the plain. The temperature in the afternoon exceed 40 degrees and volunteers from the Civil Protection department handed out more and more water to the pilgrims. The dozen fountains installed in the last few days around the perimeter of the event area were also inundated. Several ambulances waited at the edge of the crowds, ready to help anyone who felt unwell in the heat. On the plain of Sibari, every sector recorded maximum capacity as the hour of the mass held by Pope Francis drew near. The state police, Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza were impressive as they monitored the area. Journalists from dozens of Italian and foreign news channels broadcast the event live.


Queues of traffic 10 kilometres long formed on the road from Cassano to Sibari. The cars were in long columns, waiting to access the car parks outside of the event area. Many pilgrims decided to walk along the main road to reach the plain sooner. A joyful crowd welcomed the Pope on his arrival at the Piana di Sibari, half an hour ahead of schedule. 100,000 passes were distributed, 30,000 chairs, 260 eco-toilets with 30 for the disabled, and 6 large screens were been installed for the service.

Here's something you don't see every day.

While being driven through southern Italy, Pope Francis saw a disabled woman and her family on the side of the road, waiting to catch a glimpse of his motorcade.

Francis asked his driver to stop the modest blue hatchback he was riding in. He exited the car (opening his own door, like a boss), approached the family, and then blessed and kissed the woman, named Roberta, who was lying on a stretcher.

Cheers of "bravo" and "grazie" can be heard in the background.

The Catholic News Agency reported that the family held up signs asking Francis to stop and see Roberta.

Roberta, whose last name was not reported, is unable to travel far from home and depends on a machine to help her breathe, according to news.va.

After the encounter, friends and family of Roberta posted their thoughts on Facebook. One friend, Ivan Vania, wrote, “it was very emotional to see how Pope Francis greeted Roberta ... there are gestures in life that are worth more than speeches, much more than you would think ... Pope Francis is unique," according to the Daily Dot.

Of course, this isn't the first suave move we've seen from Francis. He once invited a boy with Down syndrome to take a spin in the popemobile.  He embraced a man with a very disfigured face. And he's washed the feet of kids in jail during a Holy Week ceremony. Keep that in mind the next time you think twice about holding the door for that old lady walking out of the grocery story behind you.

Pope Francis continued his series of Wednesday general audiences on the Church and emphasized that belonging to the Church is essential to being a Christian.

“We are Christians because we belong to the Church," Pope Francis said. “It’s like a last name: if the first name is ‘I am a Christian,’ the last name is ‘I belong to the Church.’”

“No one becomes a Christian by himself,” the Pope continued, as he explained that Christians receive their faith in baptism and through catechesis. He asked those assembled in St. Peter’s Square to recall the faces of parents, grandparents, priests, nuns, and others who taught them the sign of the cross, prayers, and the content of the faith. “I always remember the face of the nun who taught me catechism,” he said, as he called the Church “a large family.”

“There are those who believe you can have a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ outside of the communion and the mediation of the Church,” he continued. “These are dangerous and harmful temptations.”

The Pope concluded by asking the Virgin Mary to pray “the grace never to fall into the temptation” of thinking that we do not need the Church. “On the contrary, you cannot love God without loving the brothers, you cannot love God outside of the Church; you cannot be in communion with God without being in the Church.”


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)