27-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 210
|Serve new wine in new wineskins says the Pope to representatives of consecrated life|
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – The Congregration for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life celebrated their plenary assembly reflecting on the current state of consecrated life in the Church, fifty years after the Conciliar documents “Lumen gentium” and “Perfectae caritatis”. The theme chosen was “New wine in new wineskins”, and Pope Francis, who received eighty participants in audience this morning, based his discourse on the multiple meanings of this phrase.
“In the part of the Lord's vineyard selected by those who have chosen to imitate Christ more closely through the profession of evangelical counsels, new grapes are matured and new wine is obtained”, said the Holy Father. “In these days you have been offered the chance to discern the quality and ageing of the 'new wine' that has been produced during the long season of renewal, and at the same time to evaluate whether the wineskins that contain it, represented by the institutional forms present today in consecrated life, are adequate to contain this 'new wine' and to favour its full maturation. As I have recalled many times, we must not be afraid of setting aside the 'old wineskins': of renewing those habits and those structures that, in the life of the Church and therefore also in consecrated life, we realise no longer respond to what God asks of us today to further His Kingdom in the world: the structures that give us false protection and that condition the dynamism of charity; the habits that distance us from the flock to which we are sent and prevent us from hearing the cry of those who await the Good News of Jesus Christ”.
“You do not hide those areas of weakness that it is possible to find today in consecrated life (such as the resistance to change of certain sectors, the diminished power of attraction, the not insignificant number of those who abandon the vocation, the fragility of certain formative itineraries, concern for institutional and ministerial tasks at the expense of spiritual life, the difficult integration of cultural and generational diversity, and a problematic balance in the exercise of authority and the use of goods), but you wish to continue to listen for signals from the Spirit, that opens up new horizons and leads to new paths, always starting out from the supreme rule of the Gospel and inspired by the bold creativity of your founders”.
The Pope went on to list the criteria to follow for guidance in the “arduous task of evaluating the new wine and testing the quality of the wineskins”: the evangelical originality of the choices, charismatic fidelity, the primary of service, attention to the least and most fragile, and respect for the dignity of every person.
He encouraged those present to “continue to work with generosity and resourcefulness in the Lord's vineyard”, to obtain “that generous wine that will be able to reinvigorate the life of the Church and to bring cheer to the heart of the many brothers and sisters in need of your care”, and he underlined that “even the substitution of old for new wineskins … does not take place automatically, but requires commitment and ability, to offer the suitable space for welcoming and bringing to fruition the new gifts with which the Spirit continues to embellish the Church, His spouse”. He concluded, “do not forget … to carry on the process of renewal that has been initiated and to a great extent accomplished in these fifty years, examining every novelty in the light of the Word of God and in listening to the needs of the Church and of the contemporary world”.
|Migrants and the poor, dual challenge of urban pastoral ministry|
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the second phase of the International Pastoral Congress on the World's Big Cities, held in Barcelona, Spain from 24 to 26 November. The Holy Father took the opportunity to explore in depth four challenges and possible prospects for urban pastoral ministry. “The places where God is calling us to … and the aspects to which we should pay special attention”.
Firstly, he mentioned the need to “implement a change in our pastoral mentality”. We are no longer in the era “in which the Church was the sole point of reference for culture”. Previously, “as an authentic teacher, she was aware of her responsibility to outline and to impose not only cultural forms but also values”. He continued, “Today we are no longer the only ones who produce culture, nor are we the first or the most listened to. We are therefore in need of a change in pastoral mentality, but not a 'relativist pastoral'”, that in its wish to be part of the cultural mix, “loses its evangelical perspective, leaving humanity to its own devices and freed from God's hand. No, this is the path of relativism, the easy route. This cannot be considered as pastoral ministry! He who acts in this way is not truly interested in man, but instead leaves him to the mercy of two equally grave dangers: concealing both Jesus, and the truth of man himself, from him – a way that leads humanity to solitude and death”. Therefore, the Pope added, “we need to have the courage to carry out an evangelising pastoral ministry, bold and without fear, as men, women, families and the various groups that inhabit the city expect from us, and need for their lives, the Good News that is Jesus and His Gospel”.
As a second challenge, he emphasised “dialogue with multiculturality” and the need for pastoral dialogue without relativism, that does not negotiate its own Christian identity, but that instead seeks to reach the heart of others, of those different to ourselves, and to sow the Gospel there. We need a contemplative attitude, that without denying the contribution of the different sciences in understanding the urban phenomenon – these contributions are important – seeks to discover the foundation of cultures, that in their deepest core are always open to and thirst for God”. To face this challenge, Francis underlined that it would help us greatly to know the “invisible cities, the groups or human territories that are identified by their symbols, languages, rites and ways of narrating life”.
“The religiosity of the people” was the third point he focused on. “We must discover, in the religiosity of our populations, the authentic religious substratum, that in many cases is Christian and Catholic. We must not fail to recognise, or regard with disdain, this experience of God that, although at times dispersed or mixed with other things, needs to be discovered and not constructed. He we find the semina Verbi sown by the Spirit of the Lord”. The Pope also commented on the many migrants and poor people who fill our cities, “pilgrims of life, in search of salvation”, who pose a “dual challenge”: that of “being hospitable to the poor and migrants, not generally the case in the city, which pushes them away, and of recognising the value of their faith”. “The urban poor”, who constitute the fourth point with which the Holy Father concluded his discourse, are “excluded and discarded. The Church cannot ignore their cry, nor can she enter into the game of unjust, mean and self-serving systems that seek to render them invisible”.
The Pope made two proposals for facing these challenges: to reach out to encounter God, “Who lives in the cities and in the poor”, to facilitate the encounter of others with God, making the Sacraments accessible, and to work towards a Samaritan Church, “with concrete witness of mercy and tenderness that endeavours to be present in the existential and poor peripheries, acting directly on the social subconscious, producing guidance and meaning for city life”.
|To the Pauline family: take the breath of the Gospel to the most diverse cultures and social contexts|
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Pope received in audience the members of the Pauline Family, the group of institutions that encompasses the Society of St. Paul and the Daughters of St. Paul (Paulines), dedicated to the apostolate through means of communication. Founded by Blessed Giacomo Alberione (1884-1971), the Pauline Family is composed of ten members: five religious congregations, four aggregated institutes and an association of lay collaborators. This year it celebrates the centenary of its foundation and, to commemorate this anniversary, Francis invited them to renew their “commitment to living and communicating faith”, especially through the editorial and multimedia tools typical of their charism.
He also encouraged them to continue the path their founder opened up and which the Family has followed so far, “always keeping your gaze on broader horizons”, adding that we must never forget that “evangelisation is essentially connected with the proclamation of the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ, or have always denied Him. … Everyone has the right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty of announcing it without excluding anyone. This impulse to move towards the people, but also to existential peripheries, this 'Catholic' impulse, is something you have in the blood, in your DNA, for the very fact that your founder was inspired by the figure and the mission of the apostle Paul”.
Francis explained that Blessed Giacomo Alberione saw, in the announcement of Christ and of the Gospel to the masses, the most authentic and most necessary form of charity that could be offered to men and women who thirst for truth and justice”. He added, “you too are called to serve the people of today, to whom the Spirit sends you, with creativity and dynamic fidelity to your charism, identifying the most appropriate ways of announcing Jesus. … The imagination of charity knows no bounds, and knows how to open up ever new roads to bring the breath of the Gospel into the most diverse cultures and social environments”.
“Vatican Council II presented the Church to us as a population on the move … a vision that expresses Christian hope. … Therefore, our being a Church in progress, while it roots us in the task of announcing Christ and His love for every creature, also prevents us from being imprisoned by earthly and mundane structures; it keeps the spirit open and makes us capable of outlooks and demands that find their fulfilment in the beatitude of the Lord.
|Holy Father's calendar for December 2014 and January 2015|
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside in December 2014 and January 2015:
8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At in Piazza di Spagna, veneration of the image of Mary Immaculate.
12: Feast of Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. At in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for Latin America.
14: “Gaudete ” Third of Advent. At , pastoral visit to the Roman Parish of “San Giuseppe all'Aurelio”.
24: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. At in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
Thursday 25: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. Central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, at, “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.
31: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. At First Vespers and Te Deum, in Thanksgiving for the past year.
Thursday 1: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. 48th World Peace Day. At in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
6: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. At in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
11: after the Epiphany: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. At in the Sistine Chapel. Holy Mass and baptism of babies.
12 to 19: Apostolic trip in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
25: Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul. At 5.30 in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, Vespers.
|Christians and Muslims condemn extremism and violence committed in the name of religion|
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – The Centre for Interreligious Dialogue of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue held their Ninth Colloquium of dialogue from 24 to 26 November in Teheran, Iran, under the joint chairmanship of Abuzar Ibrahimi Turkaman, president of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed on the following:
1. Two decades of dialogue between the abovementioned institutions have provided the occasion for better knowledge and mutual understanding;
2. The participants emphasised that Christian-Muslim constructive dialogue plays a crucial role in making a better society;
3. Spirituality is a both a divine gift and the fruit of a human journey leading to truth;
4. A genuine spirituality enables us to recognise God’s presence and action within ourselves and in the world;
5. The media are called to play their distinctive role in the promotion of positive relations between Christians and Muslims;
6. The participants condemned all kinds of extremism and violence, especially committed in the name of religion.
The participants decided to hold the next colloquium in Rome in 2016, which will be preceded by a preparatory meeting 2015.
Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Michael A. Blume, apostolic nuncio in Uganda;
- Archbishop Ramiro Moliner Ingles, apostolic nuncio in Albania.