Friday, June 14, 2013


(Vatican Radio image share) 
Vatican City, 14 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican, Pope Francis received the Primate of all England and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, England, with the same words that Paul VI greeted his predecessor, Michael Ramsey, during his historic visit to the Vatican in 1966: “Your steps have not brought you to a foreign dwelling ... we are pleased to open the doors to you, and with the doors, our heart, pleased and honoured as we are ... to welcome you ‘not as a guest or a stranger, but as a fellow citizen of the Saints and the Family of God’.” 
Below, please find the complete translation of Pope Francis' discourse at the meeting, followed by the complete text of Archbishop Welby's address: 

Your Grace, Dear Friends,

On the happy occasion of our first meeting, I make my own the words of Pope Paul VI, when he addressed Archbishop Michael Ramsey during his historic visit in 1966: “Your steps have not brought you to a foreign dwelling ... we are pleased to open the doors to you, and with the doors, our heart, pleased and honoured as we are ... to welcome you ‘not as a guest or a stranger, but as a fellow citizen of the Saints and the Family of God’” (cf. Eph 2:19-20).

I know that during Your Grace’s installation in Canterbury Cathedral you remembered in prayer the new Bishop of Rome. I am deeply grateful to you – and since we began our respective ministries within days of each other, I think we will always have a particular reason to support one another in prayer.

The history of relations between the Church of England and the Catholic Church is long and complex, and not without pain. Recent decades, however, have been marked by a journey of rapprochement and fraternity, and for this we give heartfelt thanks to God. This journey has been brought about both via theological dialogue, through the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, and via the growth of cordial relations at every level through shared daily lives in a spirit of profound mutual respect and sincere cooperation. In this regard, I am very pleased to welcome alongside you Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster. These firm bonds of friendship have enabled us to remain on course even when difficulties have arisen in our theological dialogue that were greater than we could have foreseen at the start of our journey.

I am grateful, too, for the sincere efforts the Church of England has made to understand the reasons that led my Predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, to provide a canonical structure able to respond to the wishes of those groups of Anglicans who have asked to be received collectively into the Catholic Church: I am sure this will enable the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral traditions that form the Anglican patrimony to be better known and appreciated in the Catholic world.

Today’s meeting is an opportunity to remind ourselves that the search for unity among Christians is prompted not by practical considerations, but by the will of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who made us his brothers and sisters, children of the One Father. Hence the prayer that we make today is of fundamental importance.

This prayer gives a fresh impulse to our daily efforts to grow towards unity, which are concretely expressed in our cooperation in various areas of daily life. Particularly important among these is our witness to the reference to God and the promotion of Christian values in a world that seems at times to call into question some of the foundations of society, such as respect for the sacredness of human life or the importance of the institution of the family built on marriage, a value that you yourself have had occasion to recall recently.

Then there is the effort to achieve greater social justice, to build an economic system that is at the service of man and promotes the common good. Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor, so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers.

I know that Your Grace is especially sensitive to all these questions, in which we share many ideas, and I am also aware of your commitment to foster reconciliation and resolution of conflicts between nations. In this regard, together with Archbishop Nichols, you have urged the authorities to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict such as would guarantee the security of the entire population, including the minorities, not least among whom are the ancient local Christian communities. As you yourself have observed, we Christians bring peace and grace as a treasure to be offered to the world, but these gifts can bear fruit only when Christians live and work together in harmony. This makes it easier to contribute to building relations of respect and peaceful coexistence with those who belong to other religious traditions, and with non-believers.

The unity we so earnestly long for is a gift that comes from above and it is rooted in our communion of love with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As Christ himself promised, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20). Let us travel the path towards unity, fraternally united in charity and with Jesus Christ as our constant point of reference. In our worship of Jesus Christ we will find the foundation and raison d’être of our journey. May the merciful Father hear and grant the prayers that we make to him together. Let us place all our hope in him who “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20).

Below, please find the complete text of Archbishop Justin Welby’s address to Pope Francis, which was delivered in English: 

Your Holiness, 
Dear Friends:

I am full of love and gratitude to be here. In the last few days we have been remembering the death of Blessed Pope John XXIII in the midst of the Second Vatican Council. At the Requiem said at Lambeth Palace fifty years ago this weekend by Archbishop Michael Ramsey, my much-loved predecessor said of him: ‘Pope John has shown us again the power of being, by being a man who touches human hearts with charity. So there has come to many a new longing for the unity of all Christians, and a new knowledge that however long the road may be, charity already makes all the difference to it.’

Having for many years found inspiration in the great corpus of Catholic social teaching, and worked on its implications with Catholic groups; having spent retreats in new orders of the Church in France, and being accompanied by the Prior of another new order; I do indeed feel that I am (in the words of Pope Paul VI to Archbishop Michael) coming to a place where I can feel myself at home.
Your Holiness, we are called by the Holy Spirit of God, through our fraternal love, to continue the work that has been the precious gift to popes and archbishops of Canterbury for these past fifty years, and of which this famous ring is the enduring token. I pray that the nearness of our two inaugurations may serve the reconciliation of the world and the Church.

As you have stressed, we must promote the fruits of our dialogue; and, with our fellow bishops, we must give expression to our unity in faith through prayer and evangelisation. It is only as the world sees Christians growing visibly in unity that it will accept through us the divine message of peace and reconciliation.

However, the journey is testing and we cannot be unaware that differences exist about how we bring the Christian faith to bear on the challenges thrown up by modern society. But our ‘goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey’ (Benedict XVI, Spe salvi 1), and we can trust in the prayer of Christ, ‘ut omnes unum sint’ (Jn 17.21). A firm foundation of friendship will enable us to be hopeful in speaking to one another about those differences, to bear one another’s burdens, and to be open to sharing the discernment of a way forward that is faithful to the mind of Christ pressed upon us as disciples.

That way forward must reflect the self-giving love of Christ, our bearing of his Cross, and our dying to ourselves so as to live with Christ, which will show itself in hospitality and love for the poor. We must love those who seek to oppose us, and love above all those tossed aside—even whole nations—by the present crises around the world. Also, even as we speak, our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer terribly from violence, oppression and war, from bad government and unjust economic systems. If we are not their advocates in the name of Christ, who will be?

Your Holiness, dear brother, I assure you of the love, respect and prayer of the bishops, clergy and people of the Anglican Communion.



Vatican Radio REPORT The only way truly to receive the gift of salvation in Christ is with sincerity to recognize oneself as weak and sinful, and to avoid any form of self-justification. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks at Mass Friday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican.

Aware of being a weak vessel of clay, yet the guardian of a great treasure that was given to him in a totally free way: this is the follower of Christ before the Lord. Pope Francis took the point of reflection from the day’s readings, specifically from the 2nd Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, which explains that the "extraordinary power" of faith is God's work, that it has been poured out into sinful men, into "earthen vessels", in fact. Nevertheless, explained Pope Francis, it is precisely from the relationship "between the grace and power of Jesus Christ" and ourselves, poor sinners as we are, that "the dialogue of salvation" springs. This dialogue, moreover, must avoid any "self-justification", and be between God and “ourselves as we are.”:

“Paul has spoken many times - it's like a refrain, no? - of his sins. 'But I tell you this: I've been a persecutor of the Church, I pursued ...' it always comes back to his memory of sin. He feels sinful. – but even then he does not say: 'I was [a sinner], but now I am holy', no. Even now, a thorn of Satan in my flesh. He shows us his own weakness, his own sin. He is a sinner who accepts Jesus Christ, who dialogues with Jesus Christ.”

The key, says Pope Francis, is therefore humility. Paul himself proves it. He publicly acknowledges "his track record of service," i.e. all he had done as an Apostle of Jesus, but he does not hide or gloss over what the Pope calls "his handbook", i.e. his sins:

"This is the model of humility for us priests – for us priests, too. If we only pride ourselves on our [service record] and nothing more, we end up [going] wrong. We cannot proclaim Jesus Christ the Saviour because we do not feel Him [present and at work] deep down. We have to be humble, but with real humility, [from head to toe]: 'I am a sinner for this, for this, for this', as Paul did: 'I persecuted the Church, " - as he did, [recognizing ourselves] concrete sinners: not sinners with that [kind of ] humility, which seems more a put-on face, no? Oh no, strong humility. "

"The humility of the priest, the humility of a Christian is concrete," said Pope Francis, for which, therefore, if a Christian fails, "to make this confession to himself and to the Church, then something is wrong," and the first thing to fail will be our ability "understand the beauty of salvation that Jesus brings us."

"Brothers, we have a treasure: that of Jesus Christ the Saviour. The Cross of Jesus Christ, this treasure of which we pride ourselves - but we have it in a clay vessel. Let us vaunt also our ‘handbook’ of our sins. Thus is the dialogue Christian and Catholic: concrete, because the salvation of Jesus Christ is concrete. Jesus Christ has not saved us with an idea, an intellectual program, no. He saved with His flesh, with the concreteness of flesh. He is lowered, made man, made flesh until the end. This is a gift that we can only understand, only receive, in earthen vessels. "

The Samaritan woman, as well, who met Jesus and after speaking to him told her countrymen first of her sin and then about having met the Lord, behaved in a similar way to Paul. "I believe,” said Pope Francis, “that this woman is in heaven, sure," because, as [the Italian author Alessandro] Manzoni once said, 'I have never found that the Lord began a miracle without finishing it well' and this miracle that He began definitely ended well in heaven." The Pope concluded saying, let us ask her, "to help us to be vessels of clay in order to carry and understand the glorious mystery of Jesus Christ."

The prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza concelebrated the Mass, accompanied by priests and staff of the dicastery.

Vatican City, 14 June 2013 (VIS) – Dialogue, discernment, and frontier: These were the three words that the Pope suggested to the personnel of the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica (Catholic Civilization), which is published in Italian from Rome, whom he received in audience this morning.
“Your fidelity to the Church still needs you to stand strong against the hypocrisies that result from a closed and sick heart. But your main task isn't to build walls but bridges. It is to establish a dialogue with all persons, even those who don't share the Christian faith but “who cultivate outstanding qualities of the human spirit” and even with “those who oppress the Church and harass her in manifold ways. … Through dialogue it is always possible to get closer to the truth, which is a gift of God, and to enrich one another.” Pope Francis reiterated that dialogue means “being convinced that the other has something good to say, making room for their point of view, their opinion, their proposals, without falling, of course, into relativism. For dialogue [to exist] it is necessary to lower the defences and open the doors.”
The Holy Father then highlighted spiritual discernment, his second area of focus, to those present, calling it “a Jesuit treasure … that seeks to recognize the Spirit of God's presence in human and cultural reality, the seed already planted by his presence in events, feelings, desires, in the deep tensions of our hearts and in social, cultural, and spiritual contexts.”
Mentioning Fr. Matteo Ricci, S.J., as an example, Francis observed that it is necessary to keep open hearts and minds and to avoid the spiritual illness of self-referentiality. Even the Church, when it becomes self-referential, gets sick and old. May our gaze, well fixed upon Christ, always be prophetic and dynamic towards the future. In this way you will always remain young and daring in your reading of events!”
The Holy Father declared that the fracture between the Gospel and culture is undoubtedly a tragedy. “You,” he said, “are called to make your contribution to heal this rift, which even passes through each of your and your readers' hearts. This ministry is typical of the Society of Jesus. … Please, be men of the frontier, with that qualification that comes from God. In today's world, which is subject to quick changes and is shaken by questions of great importance for the life of faith, it is urgent to have a courageous commitment to educating a convinced and mature faith that is capable of giving meaning to life and of giving convincing answers to those in search of God. This means sustaining the Church's activity in all the areas of her mission. ... Be strong! I'm sure I can count on you.”
Vatican City, 14 June 2013 (VIS) – The Working Group Meeting between the Holy See and Vietnam met for the fourth time from 13 to 14 June, in the Vatican. The meeting was co-chaired by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States, and by Mr. Bui Thanh Son, Vietnam's vice-minister of Foreign Affairs.
As reported in a press release, the two sides informed each other about their respective situation and reviewed and discussed Vietnam – Holy See relations and other issues related to the Catholic Church in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese side stressed the consistent implementation and continuous improvements in policies by the Party and State of Vietnam related to the respect and assurance of freedom of religion and religious beliefs, as well as continued encouragement of different religions, and the Vietnam Catholic Church in particular, in taking active part in the national construction and socio-economic development process. The Holy See side expressed appreciation and gratitude for the attention given by various levels of Government to the activities of the Vietnam Catholic Church, particularly the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences held in Xuan Loc and Ho Chi Minh City in December 2012, as well as the pastoral visits of the non-resident Papal Representative, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli. The Holy See stressed the desire to develop further Vietnam – Holy See relations and underlined the need to have as soon as possible a Papal Representative resident in the country, for the benefit of all concerned.
The two sides believe that Vietnam – Holy See relations have progressed in a spirit of goodwill, constructive exchange and respect for principles in the relationship. In this spirit, and in view of the commitment to develop further mutual relations, the work of the non-resident Papal Representative will be facilitated in order to allow him to carry out his mission even more fruitfully. The two sides agreed to meet for the 5th Round of the Joint Working Group between Vietnam and the Holy See in Hanoi. The time of the meeting will be arranged through diplomatic channels.
Vatican City, 14 June 2013 (VIS) – This weekend, Rome will have a unique soundtrack coming from the roaring pistons of some 35,000 Harly-Davidsons that, since yesterday, have begun to invade the capital for the 110th anniversary celebrations of the American motorcycle maker's founding.
There is also room for faith among the rumbling engines, leather jackets, and elaborate tattoos. Events began early this morning with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, saying Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for two thousand of the participants. Also, 1,400 bikes with their riders will be blessed by Pope Francis at the Sunday Angelus as the Via della Conciliazione leading up to the square becomes a parade route for the motorcyclists. St. Peter's Square will welcome all the other Harley-Davidson riders and enthusiasts—on foot—who didn't win a ticket for their bike.
Vatican City, 14 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
   - appointed Bishop Jan Franciszek Watroba as bishop of Rzeszow (area 6,000, population 611,208, Catholics 598,152, priests 722, religious 451), Poland. Bishop Watroba, previously auxiliary of Cz?stochowa and titular of Bisica, serves as a member of the Commission for the Clergy and delegate for the Pastoral Care of Women in the Conference of the Polish Episcopate. He succeeds Bishop Kazimierz Gorny, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
   - appointed Fr. Paolo Selvadagi as auxiliary of the Diocese of Rome (area 850, population 2,843,918, Catholics 2,333,700, priests 4,871, permanent deacons 116, religious 1,485), Italy, assigning him the Titular See of Salpi. The bishop-elect was born in Rome, Italy, in 1946 and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rome in 1972. Since ordination he has served in many administrative, pastoral, and academic, as well as parochial and diocesan level roles. Most recently, since 2012, he has been the pastor of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish and a member of the College of Consultors. He was also named a chaplain of His Holiness in 1988 and a prelate of honour of His Holiness in 2009.
   - appointed Fr. Ansgar Puff as auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Cologne (area 6,181, population 5,152,000, Catholics 2,080,656, priests 1,014, permanent deacons 312, religious 1,897), Germany, assigning him the Titular See of Gordo. The bishop-elect was born in Monchengladbach, Germany in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1987. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral and diocesan level roles, most recently, since 2012, as director of the “Care of Souls – Personnel” department of the archdiocesan curia. He was named chaplain of His Holiness in 2012.


IN HONOR OF THE YEAR OF FAITH- JCE WORLD NEWS IS SHARING Anthony - Warrior of God. (Image share - Google)

 YOUTUBE ABOUT SHARE: St. Anthony began life as a young nobleman who enjoyed all the sumptuous pleasures and privileges of that medieval Europe could offer. Yet he was compelled by a mysterious inner voice to gaze upon the unspeakable misery, disease and cruelty around him. Overcome with boundless compassion, he entered a monastery, dedicating his fine mind and fragile body to defending the poor and oppressed against injustice. This revolutionary saint dared to challenge the highest spheres of society, the government and even the Church, if they were guilty of exploiting the common people. His story continues to this day with the many accounts of those who have been transformed by "the most famous saint in the world," St. Anthony of Padua.
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The President of the Holy See's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and the Bishops' Conference Chair of the Office for Interreligious Relations, the Most Rev Kevin McDonald, joined representatives from many of the world's major religions in London on Thursday, to offer prayers for peace and to bear witness to their longing for a more just and peaceful world.
The gathering, 'Together in Prayer for Peace', held in Westminster Cathedral Hall, took its inspiration from the 1986 Day of Prayer for Peace convened by Pope John Paul II in Assisi, Italy.
Archbishop McDonald echoed the then-Pope's words in his introduction: "Although religious leaders cannot make political decisions in favour of peace, they can, nonetheless, come together in search of the gift of peace."
At the conclusion of the prayers and reflections, everyone present at the well-attended gathering stood for the 'Pledge for Peace' - 11 commitments promoting dialogue, peace and justice among followers of the world's religions.
Pointing out that only a minority of people live by violence, Cardinal Tauran championed prayer and unity as the twin pillars of a more peaceful world:
"By praying for peace we allow God to transform and inspire us to be witnesses and bearers of peace".
The representatives were:
Mrs Annabel Knight-Djalili, Bahá'í
Lama Gelongma Zangmo, Buddhist
Monsignor Peter Fleetwood, Christian
His Holiness Nirliptananda Swami, Hindu
Mr Bakul Mehta and Dr Harshad Sanghrajka, Jain
Dr Jonathan Gorsky, Jewish
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Muslim
Lord Singh of Wimbledon, Sikh
Ervad Shahyan Dastur and Ervad Rustom K Bhedwar, Zoroastrian


by Melani Manel Perera
Some vandals destroyed a statue of the Virgin and attempted to set fire to the shrine of St. Francis Xavier in Angulana (Archdiocese of Colombo). The consecrated hosts, however, remained intact and the faithful see this a sign from Jesus: "No one can destroy the love of Christ."

Colombo (AsiaNews) - There is growing religious intolerance in Sri Lanka: a group of unknown persons attacked the Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier in Angulana in the Archdiocese of Colombo. The vandals destroyed an ancient statue of the Virgin, and then demolished the tabernacle: they removed it from the altar trying to set fire to the Eucharist. The incident occurred on June 5th at around 10 pm, but so far the police have not yet identified the perpetrators.
For the past several months attacks against religious minorities have been on the rise in Sri Lanka, particularly Christian and Islamic. These attacks are usually fomented by Buddhists extremist groups (Bodu Bala Sena or Sinhala Ravaya), struggling to protect the Sinhalese population and Buddhist (the majority, ed)  religion. Such attacks are new to the country, where attacks occur infrequently religious roots.
The faithful of the archdiocese have been shocked by what happened. But many believe that in the midst of the raid a miracle also took place, which has refreshed and reinvigorated their faith. Although the tabernacle was found completely soaked in kerosene - police believe at least 30 liters - the consecrated hosts did not catch fire, remaining intact.

"This - say the faithful to AsiaNews - is a powerful miracle, through which Jesus is giving a message to our society and those who carry out such attacks, no one can destroy Christ and his love. Because he died, he gave up his life for us and then rose again. Nobody can do anything to him. "



ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEYCatholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 
12 Jun 2013
Pope Francis with Sr Maria Casey who presented him with a St Mary MacKillop medal
Sister Maria Casey, rsj presented the Holy Father, Pope Francis with a formal St Mary of the Cross MacKillop medal during her visit to Rome last month.
The limited edition medal is one of those struck to commemorate the canonisation of Australia's first saint in October 2010.
"The first Wednesday after Pentecost on 22 May, I attended the Pope's General Audience in St Peter's Square and after the General Audience I was very privileged to be among those to meet and speak with the Holy Father," she says.
This is when Sr Maria presented the medal to Pope Francis.
"His Holiness was very interested in Mary MacKillop and he sent his blessing to all the Sisters, their family and friends and to all Australians."
The Sydney-based Josephite found Pope Francis to be humble, warm, friendly and someone with "the human touch."
"His ordinariness and ability to be totally present with each person he spoke to was very much in evidence as he made his way along the line of people waiting to meet him," she says, recalling how there were two nuns from the Chinese mainland in the line in which she stood waiting to meet His Holiness.
"He fully engaged the two nuns as he did with everyone else he met that day," she says.
The former Postulator for the Cause of Mary MacKillop, current President of the Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand, Sr Maria is also Vicar of Consecrated Life for the Archdiocese of Sydney and in late May, was in Rome for a conference on New Forms of Consecrated Life. This had been the subject of her dissertation some years ago when she studied for her degree in canon law at Saint Paul University, Ottawa. 
Sr Maria Casey presents Pope Francis with a limited edition St Mary MacKillop Medal
The Conference in Rome which was attended by international experts on canon law, religious, priests, church leaders and representatives of 25 different movements and other emerging forms of consecrated life took place over two days.
Once over, Sr Maria who had spent many years in Rome during her time as Postulator for the Cause, had several other appointments. So she stayed on a few more days and was able to attend the General Audience in St Peter's Square after which she was among those with special tickets who met and spoke with the Holy Father.
"Before the Audience, Pope Francis travelled in the popemobile going as near to as many sections of the very large crowd as he could. Later he would walk in front of the barricades and meet and speak with as many people as possible," she says.
For Sr Maria it was both "humbling and impressive" to see his interaction as he made his way along a crowded throng of men, women and children.
"Some threw their arms around him and gave him a big hug, and at one point there was a woman who wanted to give him a friendship bracelet. I watched as he held out his right hand for her to tie on the bracelet. But in her nervousness she was all thumbs and had trouble tying the knot. At no stage did he try to hurry her. Instead he smiled and spoke with her and put her completely at ease."
Sr Maria was struck by how attentive Pope Francis was to each person or child he met. Smiling, he accepted their gifts of flowers, baskets of olives, statues and pictures. She was also impressed by his fluent English which Pope Francis learned during three months of intensive study while staying at the Jesuit Milltown community in Dublin.
Holding the medal presented by Sr Maria Casey the Holy Father inspects the reverse side with its engraved map of Australia
She was also struck by the Holy Father's reflections on the significance of Pentecost in an address he gave that day as part of the General Audience.
"Let us witness to the newness, hope and joy that the Lord brings to life. Let us feel within us 'the delightful comforting joy of evangelising, because evangelising, proclaiming Jesus, gives us joy," he said but warned that only a faithful and intense relationship with God made it possible to get out of our closedness and proclaim the Gospel with clear and fearless speech.
"Without prayer our acts are empty, and our proclamation has no soul. It is not inspired by the Spirit," he said.
Pope Francis is the third Pontiff Sr Maria has been "honoured and privileged to meet."
"Fourth if you count being among the Sisters of St Joseph's guard of honour for Pope Paul VI when was in Sydney in 1970 and came to North Sydney to pray at St Mary MacKillop's tomb," she says with a smile.
In 1995 during the Beatification of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Sr Maria met Blessed Pope John Paul II and in 2010 she met Pope Benedict at the Canonisation ceremony for Australia's first saint.
For a video or the complete transcript of Pope Francis' Reflections on Pentecost delivered at the General Audience in St Peter's Square on 22 May log on to


Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 363

Reading 12 COR 4:7-15

Brothers and sisters:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,”
we too believe and therefore speak,
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:10-11, 15-16, 17-18

R. (17a) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
I believed, even when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
I said in my alarm,
“No man is dependable.”
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.

GospelMT 5:27-32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful)
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”


St. Methodius I of Constantinople
Feast: June 14

Feast Day:June 14
Born:8th century at Syracuse
Patriarch of Constantinople (842-846), defender of images during the second Iconoclast persecutiaon, b. at Syracuse, towards the end of the eighth century; d. at Constantinople, 14 June, 846. The son of a rich family, he came, as a young man, to Constantinople intending to obtain a place at Court. But a monk persuaded him to change his mind and he entered a monastery. Under the Emperor Leo V (the Armenian, 813-820) the Iconoclast persecution broke out for the second time. The monks were nearly all staunch defenders of the images; Methodius stood by his order and distinguished himself by his opposition to the Government. In 815 the Patriarch Nicephorus I (806-815) was deposed and banished for his resistance to the Iconoclast laws; in his place Theodotus I (815-821) was intruded. In the same year Methodius went to Rome, apparently sent by the deposed patriarch, to report the matter to the pope (Paschal I, 817-824). He stayed in Rome till Leo V was murdered in 820 and succeeded by Michael II (820-829). Hoping for better things from the new emperor, Methodius then went back to Constantinople bearing a letter in which the pope tried to persuade Michael to change the policy of the Government and restore the Patriarch  Nicephorus. But Michael only increased the fierceness of the persecution. As soon as Methodius had delivered his letter and exhorted the emperor to act according to it, he was severely scourged (with 70 stripes), taken to the island Antigoni in the Propontis, and there imprisoned in a disused tomb. The tomb must be conceived as a building of a certain size; Methodius lived seven years in it. In 828 Michael II, not long before his death, mitigated the persecution and proclaimed a general amnesty. Profiting by this, Methodius came out of his prison and returned to Constantinople almost worn out by his privations. His spirit was unbroken and he took up the defence of the holy images as zealously as before.

Michael II was succeeded by his son Theophilus (829-842), who caused the last and fiercest persecution of image-worshippers. Methodius again withstood the emperor to his face, was again scourged and imprisoned under the palace. But the same night he escaped, helped by his friends in the city, who hid him in their house and bound up his wounds. For this theGovernment confiscated their property. But seeing that Methodius was not to be overcome by punishment, the emperor tried to convince him by argument. The result of their discussion was that Methodius to some extent persuaded the emperor. At any rate towards the end of the reign the persecution was mitigated. Theophilus died in 842 and at once the whole situation was changed. His wife, Theodora, became regent for her son Michael III (the Drunkard, 842-867). She had always been an image-worshipper in secret; now that she had the power she at once began to restore images, set free the confessors in prison and bring back everything to the conditions of the Second Nicene Council (787). The Patriarch of Constantinople, John VII (832-842), was an Iconoclast set up by the Government. As he persisted in his heresy he was deposed and Methodius was made patriarch in his place (842-846). Methodius then helped the empress-regent in her restoration. He summoned a synod at Constantinople (842) that approved of John VII's deposition and his own  succession. It had no new laws to make about images. The decrees of Nicæa II that had received the assent of the pope and the whole Church as those of an Œcumenical Council were put in force again. On 19 Feb., 842, the images were brought in solemn procession back to the churches. This was the first "Feast of Orthodoxy", kept again in memory of that event on the first Sunday of Lent every year throughout the Byzantine Church. Methodius then proceeded to depose Iconoclast bishops throughout his patriarchate, replacing them by image-worshippers. In doing so he seems to have acted severely. An opposition formed itself against him that nearly became an organized schism. The patriarch was accused of rape; but the woman in question admitted on examination that she had been bought by his enemies.

On 13 March, 842, Methodius brought the relics of his predecessor Nlicephorus (who had died in exile) with great honour to Constantinople. They were exposed for a time in the church of the Holy Wisdom, then buried in that of the Apostles. Methodius was succeeded by Ignatius, under whom the great schism of Photius broke out. Methodius is a saint to Catholics and Orthodox. He is named in the Roman Martyrology (14 June), on which day the Byzantine Church keeps his feast together with that of the Prophet Eliseus. He is acclaimed with the other patriarchs, defenders of images, in the service of the feast of Orthodoxy: "To Germanus, Tarasius, Nicephorus and Methodius, true high priests of God and defenders and teachers of Orthodoxy, R. Eternal memory (thrice)." The Uniate Syrians have his feast on the same day. The Orthodox have a curious legend, that his prayers and those of Theodora saved Theophilus out of hell. It is told in the Synaxarion for the feast of Orthodoxy.

St. Methodius is reputed to have written many works. Of these only a few sermons and letters are extant (in Migne, P.G., C, 1272-1325). An account of the martyrdom of Denis the Areopagite by him is in Migne, P.G., IV, 669-682, two sermons on St. Nicholas in N. C. Falconius, "S. Nicolai acta primigenia" (Naples, 1751), 39-74.