Friday, February 28, 2014

POPE FRANCIS “We are asked not to abandon young people,”

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America on Friday. Founded in 1958 to offer advice and assistance to the particular Churches in Latin America, the Commission operates under the Congregation for Bishops. Members have been in Plenary Assembly this week to discuss the theme: Educational Emergency and the Transmission of the Faith to Latin American Youth. 

In remarks delivered to the members on Friday in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, Pope Francis addressed the topic under their consideration through the key of the Gospel story of Jesus and the rich young man.

The Holy Father went on to say that a welcoming disposition is prior to any act of teaching. “Christ stopped, looked with affection, with love, on [the young man],” he said, adding, “The Lord puts himself in each person’s situation, even those who reject him.” Noting the many grave difficulties that young people in Latin America often face, such as school failure , unemployment , loneliness , bitterness in broken families, Pope Francis said, “We are asked not to abandon young people,” but to help foster in them a sense of their own dignity, and help them feel loved and included.

This welcoming disposition, however, does not exclude genuine dialogue with young people. “Jesus engaged in a frank and cordial dialogue with the young man,” said Pope Francis. “He listened to his concerns and clarified them in the light of Sacred Scripture.”

Finally, Christ invites the young man to follow Him. “Go, sell all that you have…and come follow me,” said Pope Francis, quoting the words of Our Lord to the rich youth. “These words,” he added, “have not lost their timeliness.” He called on the members of the Commission to help young people become friends of Christ. 

“Dear brothers,” concluded Pope Francis, “young people are counting on us. Let us not disappoint them.”

Text from Vatican Radio website 


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT:
27 Feb 2014
Apostolic Administrator Peter Comensoli with Cardinal Pell when ordained an auxiliary bishop at St Mary's Cathedral.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney welcomes the appointment of Bishop Peter Comensoli by Pope Francis to the position of Administrator of the Archdiocese.

Bishop Comensoli was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney in June 2011.

He will be the Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese, for the day-to-day running of the Archdiocese, until a new Archbishop is appointed.

This follows the decision by Pope Francis to appoint Cardinal Pell to the role of Prefect of the new Secretariat for the Economy at the Vatican.

Bishop Peter Comensoli said he was grateful for the confidence shown to him but emphasised this role was purely one of caretaker.

"My primary responsibility will be one of caretaker and by that I mean taking care of the people in the Archdiocese of Sydney with the support of those with whom I have been working for the past couple of years.
"I would ask all to pray for our new Archbishop - whomever and whenever that may be," the 49-year old Bishop said.


ASIA NEWS IT REPORT: Opposition leaders announced renewed demonstrations around ministries and Shinawatra offices. Suthep Thaugsuban proposes a televised debate and accuses the government of killing "innocent children". The government rejects the proposal. Yingluck is under investigation for "negligence" in office and risks trial.

Bangkok ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - Anti-government protesters have announced a new round of protest in front of ministries and offices linked to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in an attempt to keep the pressure on the executive and force her to resign . Tension and violence is mounting with attacks and bombings on a daily basis, so much so that several foreign embassies - including Australia and the US - have raised the alert level for their fellow citizens. Meanwhile, the leader of the revolt has opened - albeit vaguely - to the possibility of negotiations with the government.  Yesterday Suthep Thaugsuban proposed a live televised debate with the Prime Minister. However, a few hours later, during a rally, he also accused the government of being responsible (according to him) for the two bomb attacks against protesters last weekend.

The protest movement that began in November last year wants to see the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is accused of being a "puppet" in the hands of her brother Thaksin, a billionaire and former prime minister who is in exile to avoid a two-year prison sentence. The latter is disliked by many people close to the monarchy, who fear he might seek to weaken the system, which is particularly fragile at a time when King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 86, is in poor health.

After launching the idea of ​​a televised debate, Suthep harangued the crowd blaming Prime Minister Yingluck for the deaths of "four innocent children", while daring the people of the north and north- east (mostly farmers linked to the Shinawatra family) to come to the capital and "start a civil war". "Let's see - added the opposition leader in a crescendo of threats - who can gather more supporters".

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister who is currently in Chiang Mai - northern Thailand - has responded tepidly to the possibility of a televised debate. "The talks have to have a framework, though I am not sure what that framework would look like" she said, adding; "But many parties have to be involved because I alone cannot answer on behalf of the Thai people".  Even the Minister of Labour Chalerm Yoobamrung rejected the idea of a televised debate, noting that "Yingluck is the legitimate leader of the country" while just Suthep is the leader of an "illegal movement" with "arrest warrants" weighing on his shoulders.

Meanwhile yesterday, Yingluck was expected appear before the Anti-Corruption Commission , to answer charges of "negligence" in the discharge of her duties of office. The reference is to the government plan of subsidies linked to production of rice, which has left thousands of farmers with no money and almost drained the state coffers. The prime minister was formally indicted and if found guilty, faces up to five years' disqualification from public office . The lawyers have until March 14 to disprove the charges, otherwise she will be brought to court.

The anti -government protests - a mix of members of the middle class, royalists and the inhabitants of the south - are the biggest since 2010, when the kingdom was shaken by a series of riots that ended in bloodshed and death 90 civilians. According to sources in the Medical Department of Bangkok, the death toll since the crisis is at least 22 dead and over 700 injured. February 2, elections were held - boycotted by the opposition Democratic Party - which sanctioned the victory of Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party, but the vote is not yet final; some provinces of the south still have to vote , an area seen as a democratic stronghold.

POPE FRANCIS “see how beautiful love is, how beautiful marriage is, how beautiful the family is..."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican this morning. In remarks following the readings of the day, the Holy Father focused on the beauty of marriage and warned that the Church must accompany – not condemn – those who experience failure in married life. He explained that Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church, and therefore you cannot understand one without the Other. 

The Holy Father also warned against giving in to the temptation to entertain “special pleading” in questions regarding marriage. The Pharisees, he noted, present Jesus with the problem of divorce. Their method, the Pope said, is always the same: “casuistry,” — “is this licit or not?”

“It is always the small case. And this is the trap, behind casuistry, behind casuistical thought, there is always a trap: against people, against us, and against God, always. ‘But is it licit to do this? To divorce his wife?’ And Jesus answered, asking them what the Law said, and explaining why Moses framed the Law as he did. But He doesn’t stop there. From [the study of the particular case], He goes to the heart of the problem, and here He goes straight to the days of Creation. That reference of the Lord is so beautiful: ‘But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh’.”

Pope Francis went on to say, “The Lord refers to the masterpiece of Creation,” which is precisely the human person, created as male and female. God said He “did not want man to be alone,” He wanted him to be with “his companion along the way.” The moment Adam meets Eve, he said, is a poetic moment: “It is the beginning of love: [a couple] going together as one flesh.” The Lord , he repeated, “always takes casuistic thought and brings it to the beginning of revelation.” On the other hand, he explained, “this masterpiece of the Lord is not finished there, in the days of Creation, because the Lord has chosen this icon to explain the love that He has for His people.” At the very point “when the people is unfaithful,” he said, God speaks to him with words of love”:

“The Lord takes this love of the masterpiece of Creation to explain the love He has for His people. And going further: when Paul needs to explain the mystery of Christ, he does it in a relationship, in reference to His Spouse: because Christ is married, Christ was married, He married the Church, His people. As the Father had married the People of Israel, Christ married His people. This is the love story, this is the history of the masterpiece of Creation – and before this path of love, this icon, casuistry falls and becomes sorrowful. When, however, this leaving one’s father and mother, and joining oneself to a woman, and going forward... when this love fails – because many times it fails – we have to feel the pain of the failure, [we must] accompany those people who have had this failure in their love. Do not condemn. Walk with them – and don’t practice casuistry on their situation.”

Pope Francis also said the Gospel episode encourages us to reflect “about this plan of love, this journey of love in Christian marriage, that God has blessed the masterpiece of His Creation,” a blessing, he said, “that has never been taken away. Not even original sin has destroyed it.” When we thinks of this, we can “see how beautiful love is, how beautiful marriage is, how beautiful the family is, how beautiful this journey is, and how much love we too [must have], how close we must be to our brothers and sisters who in life have had the misfortune of a failure in love.” 

Turning again to Saint Paul, Pope Francis emphasized the beauty of “the love Christ has for His bride, the Church”:

“Here too, we must be careful that love should not fail: [it is dangerous] to speak about a bachelor-Christ (It. Cristo troppo scappolo): Christ married the Church. You can’t understand Christ without the Church, and you can’t understand the Church without Christ. This is the great mystery of the masterpiece of Creation. May the Lord give all of us the grace to understand it and also the grace to never fall into these casuistical attitudes of the Pharisees, of the teachers of the law.”

Text from Vatican Radio website 

POPE FRANCIS meets with 45 Interfaith Leaders returning from Holy Land

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has met with 45 important interfaith leaders from Argentina who have just returned from the Holy Land, which the Pontiff himself is due to visit May 24-26. Thursday’s meeting in the Santa Marta guesthouse included 15 Jews, 15 Muslims and 15 Catholics. Their trip covered many of the stops which the Holy Father is expected to visit during his brief pilgrimage to Jordan , Israel and Palestine. The group met leading political and religious authorities and visited the holy sites of the three monotheistic religions. 

According to a report in the Vatican paper, L’Osservatore Romano, many members of the group, which included several rabbis, imams and priests, have known the Pope since he was Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires. They had collaborated with him in inter-religious dialogue and worked with him on a number of joint social and charitable projects aimed at helping people in difficult situations.

The group said they wanted to express their friendship and spiritual closeness to the Pope by ending their pilgrimage in Rome so they could meet with the Holy Father offer him their best wishes for his ministry and for his own upcoming trip to the Holy Land.

The hour-long meeting in the Vatican was described as one of “great cordiality” and was also attended by Cardinals Kurt Koch, President of the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews , and Jean -Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue .

Text from Vatican Radio website 


Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 345

Reading 1            JAS 5:9-12

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of the perseverance of Job,
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord,
because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

But above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear,
either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath,
but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,”
that you may not incur condemnation.

Responsorial Psalm                 PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Gospel               MK 10:1-12

Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.

Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”