(Vatican Radio) On the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Pope Francis spoke about the love that is at the heart of the divine life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
It is, he said, “a life of profound communion and perfect love, the origin and end of the whole universe and of every creature.”
But the Holy Trinity is also the model of the Church “in which we are called to love one another as Jesus has loved us.” Love, Pope Francis said, is the distinctive mark of the Christian.
As Christians, “we are called to bear witness to and announce the message that ‘God is love,’ that God is not distant or insensible to our human affairs.” God, the Pope said, “is close to us, He is always by our side, He walks with us to share our joys and our sorrows, our hopes and our struggles.” He loves human beings so much that He sent His only Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, into the world, that the world might be saved through Jesus.
It is the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis continued, “the gift of the Risen Jesus,” that “communicates the divine life to us and so makes us enter into the dynamism of the Trinity, a dynamism of love, of communion, of reciprocal service, of sharing.” A person, a family, a parish that loves others for the sake of love is a “reflection of the Trinity.”
But although true love is without limits, true love also knows when to limit itself in order “to meet the other, to respect the liberty of the other.” Drawing the connection between the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity and next week’s Feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis said “the Eucharist is like the ‘burning bush’ in which the Trinity humbly dwells and communicates Itself.” He reminded the faithful of the custom of Rome of celebrating the Mass of Corpus Christi in the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, followed by a Eucharistic procession to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. “I invite Romans and pilgrims to participate,” the Pope said, “in order to express our desire to be a people ‘gathered in the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
(Vatican Radio) Since the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has called for increased attention and care for the young and the old. For those who represent the future and the memory and experience of humanity. One of his many quotes says our culture applies the ‘death penalty’ in the “hidden euthanasia of the elderly through neglect and maltreatment… a culture that “discards the elderly when, in fact, they are the seat of the wisdom of the people.”
Well, June 15 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It is a global occasion to raise awareness of the discrimination, violence and abuse older people face on a much larger scale than one would like to imagine.
In a world in which people are living longer, statistics show that around 4 to 6% of elderly people have experienced some form of maltreatment at home, and the incidence of abuse is expected to increase as many countries experience the phenomenon of a rapidly ageing population.
Elder maltreatment can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences. It is increasingly being recognized as a global social issue which affects the health and human rights of millions of older persons around the world, and an issue which deserves the attention of the international community.
That’s why HelpAge International – the global network of organizations that upholds the rights of older people - is spearheading the “Age Demands Action for Rights” campaign. Together with other activists across the globe, it is demanding a new UN Convention on the Rights of Older People.
To find out more, Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni spoke to Amselet Tewodros, Country Director for HelpAge International in Tanzania who explains that older people across the globe experience different forms of abuse, according to age, gender and geographical location.Tewodros points out the abuse is most often hidden, and is perpetrated in many forms including gender discrimination, neglect, verbal, emotional and physical abuse, financial abuse, property-related abuse, sexual abuse. Often – she says – it even takes place in health facilities and institutions.
Tewodros says that a particular form of abuse she comes across in her experience in East Africa involve accusations of witchcraft that can even lead to the killing of elderly people.
She says “a desk analysis that covered about 16 countries across the world indicates that from 11% to 83% of older people reported different forms of violence”.
She says it is a type of abuse that has no boundaries and cuts across diverse social and cultural contexts. In Africa too, where respect for elders is a deeply ingrained feature of culture, there is an increasing rate of violence against older people: “It is widespread cultural belief that interprets all forms of misfortunes by labeling the weakest members of society, mainly by accusing older men and women as witches”.
Tewodros says this is a paradoxical reality in a society where increasingly older people are taking on the responsibility of aids-orphaned households and caring for new generations. Despite this fundamental contribution to soceity – she says - their work is often not recognized and their needs are not catered for.
Even as regards HIV/Aids – Tawadros says - older people need to be included in awareness campaigns and healthcare programmes.
Regarding the demand for a new UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons, Tawadros says this is necessary because despite the existence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, older people are not recognized explicitly under the international human rights laws that legally oblige governments to realize the rights of all people. With a new UN convention, and the assistance of a Special Rapporteur, governments will have an explicit legal framework, guidance and support that will enable them to ensure that older people's rights are realized in our increasingly ageing societies.
(Vatican Radio) “I invite all of you to unite yourselves with my prayer for the dear Iraqi nation, especially for the victims and for those who most suffer the consequences of the growing violence, in particular the many persons, among whom are so many Christians, who have had to leave their homes.” Pope Francis made an appeal for prayers for Iraq on Sunday at his weekly Angelus address. “I am following with lively concern the events of these last days in Iraq,” the Pope said.
In his prayer, the Holy Father said he hoped that all people in Iraq would find “security and peace and a future of reconciliation and justice where all Iraqis, whatever their religious affiliation, will be able together to build up their country, making a model of coexistence.”