Saturday, February 3, 2018

Pope Francis "..I urge you to keep your eyes and hearts fixed on Jesus, to concentrate on the pages of the Gospel..." FULL TEXT

To Members of the National Anti-Usury Council, in audience in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace.
Address of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am pleased to welcome you and to share with you this moment of reflection on a scourge that is unfortunately widespread and still very concealed: usury. I thank the President for his kind words, and I offer a thought for Father Massimo Rastrelli, who in 1991 established the first Anti-usury Foundation.
I follow with particular attention your fight against usury, which becomes increasingly qualified and practical with experience and with the establishment of new foundations distributed throughout the national territory through hundreds of advice centers. They are presidia, schools of humanity and of education in legality, the fruit of a sensitivity that finds its illuminating inspiration in the Word of God, and which works silently and industriously in people’s consciences. Inspiration and that operates silently and laboriously in people’s consciences.
In your first twenty-six years of service you have saved over 25 thousand families from the grip of usurious debt and from the risk of usury; by saving their home, and sometimes their small businesses, you have helped them recover the dignity that had been expropriated from them. And this deserves to be praised. Thank you, thank you very much.
Usury humiliates and kills. Usury is an ancient and unfortunately still concealed evil that, like a snake, strangles its victims. It must be prevented, by removing people from the pathology of debts accrued to get by or to save their business. And it can be prevented by educating in a sober lifestyle, able to distinguish between the superfluous and the necessary, and which promotes responsibility in not assuming debts to obtain things that could be renounced. It is important to restore the virtue of poverty and sacrifice: of poverty, so as not to become slaves to commodities, and sacrifice, because in life you cannot receive everything.
It is necessary to form a mentality based on legality and honesty, in individuals and in institutions; to increase the presence of volunteers who are motivated and available to the needy, so they may be listened to, advised and guided, so as to rise out of their humiliating condition.
At the base of economic and financial crises, there is always a conception of life that places profit first and not the person. Human dignity, ethics, solidarity and the common good should always be at the center of economic policies implemented by public institutions. These are expected to discourage, through appropriate measures, those instruments that, directly or indirectly, are a cause of usury, such as gambling, another scourge. I saw and heard of old women in Buenos Aires, who went to the bank to receive their pension and from there they went to straight to the gambling establishment. It is a pathology that takes hold of you and kills you!
Usury is a serious sin: it kills life, tramples on the dignity of people, is a vehicle for corruption and hampers the common good. It also weakens the social and economic foundations of a country. In fact, with so many poor people, many indebted families, so many victims of serious crimes and so many corrupt people, no country can plan a serious economic recovery or even feel safe.
Dear brothers and sisters, I know well that the service you render is burdensome: it involves collaborating to render human the social-economic system is human and to ensure that the Gospel message can illuminate the heart and soul of people, as happened one day to Zacchaeus, the rich and corrupt leader of the “publicans” of Jericho (cf. Lk 19: 1-10), and his colleague Matthew, upon whom Jesus looked with mercy and chose as a disciple, and who for a year has been Patron of the Anti-Usury Foundations (cf. Mt 9: 9-13). A beautiful pilgrimage that you can make, to see the soul of a man attached to money, to usury, is to [the Church of] San Luigi dei Francesi, to see Caravaggio’s Calling of Saint Matthew. Matthew goes like this [makes a gesture] with his money as if it were his children. This depicts well the attitude of a man attached to money. May the Lord inspire and support public authorities so that people and families can enjoy the benefits of law like any other economic reality; inspire and support the leaders of the banking system, so that they may monitor the ethical quality of the activities of banks. It is worth pointing out that many banks were born and spread throughout the world precisely to lift the poor out of usury with loans without a pledge and without interest.
Dear brothers, your service demands that you be men and women of encounter, of listening, of closeness. For this reason, I urge you to keep your eyes and hearts fixed on Jesus, to concentrate on the pages of the Gospel in which He meets the poor and beggars, lepers and paralytics and “puts them back on their feet”, restoring their dignity and future. Facing usury and corruption, you too can transmit hope and strength to the victims so that they can recover confidence and recover from their needs. For the institutions, you are a stimulus to the assurance of practical answers to those who are disorientated, at times desperate, and do not know how to support their family. For usurers themselves, you can be a reminder of a sense of humanity and justice, to make them aware they cannot kill their brothers in the name of money!
In addition, I encourage you to enter into dialogue with those who have responsibility in the field of economics and finance, so that initiatives may be promoted that help prevent usury. I do not need to give you concrete examples: you are well aware of them; but it means always having respect for faces, to truly put at the center the person and the family, not in words but in deeds.
The people you have helped come out of usury can testify that the darkness of the tunnel they have passed through is dense and distressing, but there is also a stronger light that illuminates and gives consolation. For the poor, the indebted, businesses in difficulty, may you be a point of reference for hope. Continue your service with perseverance and courage: it is a valuable leaven for all society. The victims of usury and gambling know this well and have come here with their representation. I greet them and encourage them because I know they have undertaken a new journey with God’s help, and with the solidarity of many brethren. Transmit your courage to the people who are still inside that tunnel, describing your experience, showing that you can leave usury and gambling behind.
Together, let us make an appeal for a new economic humanism, which “puts an end to the economy of exclusion and inequality”, to the economy that kills, to economic systems in which men and women are no longer people, but are reduced to the tools of a throwaway logic that generates profound imbalances (cf. Message to the International Symposium on the Economy, 26 November 2016).
Thank you for your presence, for your work, and I warmly bless you and your work. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican

New #ProLife Book on Religious Freedom to Learn to Stand up for Your Rights by William Baptiste, SFO

LEARN The Foundational Principles of Human Rights and Democracy to STOP Current Worldwide ‘Creeping Totalitarianism’ Now Threatening LASTING Democracy!

YOU are in the flow of living history! 

The future of Human Rights and Democracy worldwide is being set RIGHT NOW, and YOU can help make sure they stop eroding away! 

LEARN DEMOCRACY 101 and Join a Worldwide Movement of EDUCATED Citizens Standing Up in SOLIDARITY to Ensure Human Rights and Democracy Last Forever on Their Firm TRADITIONAL, HISTORICAL, SCIENTIFIC and LOGICAL FOUNDATIONS!

Learn How YOU Can Save Your Religious Freedom and Make Democracy Last Forever!
Millions in Western nations who still hold the traditional Western values all our Human Rights and democratic freedoms were historically and logically built on (and need to last) have been made extremely uncomfortable by massive social and legal changes to Western societies over the last decades, which are now happening with increasing frequency and with increasingly anti-democratic and “totalitarian” character (the “total-control, belief-control” character typical of oppressive totalitarian States which do not understand that Democracy is government “of the people, by the people, for the people”). 
This effect is worse in some places than others, but ‘Creeping Totalitarianism’ is a worldwide trend gradually but increasingly undermining Human Rights and Democracy from their very foundations. In many jurisdictions for some time it has effectively become the case that citizens are only "free" to hold traditional Western values privately, in a home or church or synagogue, as long as those Traditional Western Values no longer influence public policy. But since, as demonstrated from undisputed historical (and scientific) facts and sound logic in DEMOCRACY 101, all Human Rights and democratic freedoms depend ultimately on the tried and true Western values they were built on, this means public policy is gradually becoming increasingly totalitarian in character. 
So now, as the anti-traditional, anti-democratic momentum of decades increases, in more and more places and professions people (even elected representatives) are being BULLIED INTO SILENCE about their traditional (democracy-grounding) values. In one region more advanced in ‘Creeping Totalitarianism’ (WARNING US WHERE THE REST OF THE WEST IS HEADING), the government just passed a new law that once strictly implemented will mean parents will no longer even be "free" to practice and teach traditional values AT HOME without LIVING IN FEAR about being REPORTED for TRADITIONAL childrearing in their democracy’s FOUNDING VALUES which the radically anti-traditional (and ‘Creeping Totalitarian’) government no longer considers "in the best interests of the child" but rather as grounds to take children away from their parents! ALL THIS MADNESS is based on politicians and the voters who vote for them both being too UNEDUCATED in the history and logic underlying Human Rights and Democracy itself to know how to make Democracy last, and this sound HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION in a “crash course” called DEMOCRACY 101 is offered as the cure.
We can no longer afford to take for granted that Democracy, religious freedom, and Human Rights will just last if we do nothing to make them last

•Any democracy that wants to REMAIN a democracy must keep its politicians accountable to democratic foundations and teach these to its citizens. OUR WESTERN DEMOCRACIES HAVE UTTERLY FAILED ON BOTH COUNTS.
•There is no fruit without roots; we cannot long keep the fruit of Human Rights and Democracy without deep roots in the Traditional Western Values from which they historically and logically grew in the first place
•A NON-PARTISAN call for ALL political parties to get back to their democracy’s ROOTS if they have strayed
•DEMOCRACY 101 details historically proven STRATEGIES for getting democratic governments compromised by totalitarian thinking to get back to their foundations.

About the Author

Before his Ph.D. studies at the Sheptytsky Institute and being a professor at Dominican University College (where he replaced Dr. Andrew Bennett, appointed Canada’s Ambassador of Religious Freedom), William Baptiste got his Master’s Degree with Honors at Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS), where the Philosophy Chair testified in writing to the University President of “his tremendous academic talent” and “considerable power of mind;” a genius IQ which he has since used to discern and lay out clearly from the tangled webs of historical details the “golden threads” woven throughout history that give us all our Human Rights and democratic freedoms. At FUS, the famous Dr. Scott Hahn wrote William’s work was “outstanding,” “excellent,” “clear, thoughtful and thorough,” and the Theology Chair Dr. Alan Schreck endorsed William’s educational Donum Veritatis - The Gift of Truth Ministries “as an effective and important means to spread the faith and to promote Christian unity… It really is a ‘gift’ to the ‘Internet Generation.’” He was invited three times to the ecumenical Springtime of Faith Rome Summits (Catholic and Evangelical Christian leaders meeting with Vatican Officials) for being considered “one of the dynamic leaders building the New Springtime of Faith.” He recently founded Human Rights and Freedoms Forever! in response to accelerating attacks on human life and freedom throughout the West since 2015. Having taught a course in the Formal Science of Logic, he reminds all those who would read his above Christian qualifications and be tempted to simply dismiss his book DEMOCRACY 101 merely on that basis (instead of engaging with its powerful facts and logic with intellectual honesty), that to do so is to commit what the Science of Logic calls the "genetic fallacy" combined with circular reasoning, known as "Bulverism." He suggests "No intellectually honest person can deny Western Human Rights and freedoms start with The Foundational Principles of Human Rights and Democracy identified herein, which Christianity introduced into the West, and only the intellectually dishonest would dismiss this book lightly and without engaging with its undisputed scientific and historical facts and sound logic. But LASTING Democracy, religious freedom, and Human Rights for all requires that in response to current ‘Creeping Totalitarianism’ this book starts a DIALOGUE in Western nations about just how to ensure these highest of Western values last for the long-term.

Pope Francis "..God is the Holy One, and that no one can claim to use his name in order to perpetrate evil." FULL TEXT at Conference

To participants in the International Conference on violence committed in the name of religion 
Please find below the full text of the Pope’s address to participants.
Dear Friends,
            I offer you a warm welcome and I thank you for your presence.  It is highly significant that political authorities and religious leaders can meet to discuss how to respond to acts of violence committed in the name of religion.
            I would begin by reiterating what I have often stated, and in particular during my visit to Egypt: “God, the lover of life, never ceases to love man, and so he exhorts us to reject the way of violence.  Above all and especially in our day, the religions are called to respect this imperative, since, for all our need of the Absolute, it is essential that we reject any ‘absolutizing’ that would justify violence.  For violence is the negation of every authentic religious expression…  We have an obligation to denounce violations of human dignity and human rights, to expose attempts to justify every form of hatred in the name of religion, and to condemn these attempts as idolatrous caricatures of God” (Address to Participants in the International Peace Conference, Al-Azhar Conference Centre, Cairo, 28 April 2017).
            Violence promoted and carried out in the name of religion can only discredit religion itself.  Consequently, such violence must be condemned by all, and especially by genuinely religious persons, who know that God is always goodness, love and compassion, and that in him there is no room for hatred, resentment or vengeance.  The religious person knows that among the greatest blasphemies is to invoke God as the justification for one’s own sins and crimes, to invoke him in order to justify killing, mass murder, enslavement, exploitation in whatever form, oppression and persecution of individuals and entire populations.
            The religious person knows that God is the Holy One, and that no one can claim to use his name in order to perpetrate evil.  Every religious leader is called to unmask any attempt to manipulate God for ends that have nothing to do with him or his glory.  We need to show, with unremitting effort, that every human life is sacred, that it deserves respect, esteem, compassion and solidarity, without regard for ethnicity, religion, culture, or ideological and political convictions. 
            Adherence to a particular religion does not confer additional dignity and rights upon individuals, nor does non-adherence deny or diminish them.
            There is a need, then, for a common commitment on the part of political authorities, religious leaders, teachers and those engaged in the fields of education, training and communications, to warn all those tempted by perverse forms of misguided religiosity that these have nothing to do with the profession of a religion worthy of this name.
            This will help all those people of good will who seek God to encounter him in truth, to encounter the One who sets us free from fear, hatred and violence, and who desires to use the creativity and energy of each person to spread his plan of love and peace, which is offered to all.
Source: Official Trans.

#BreakingNews Vatican City will send Delegation to Olympics in South Korea

The International Olympic Committee has invited a Vatican delegation to take part in the opening ceremony of the Winter Games, and to attend its general meeting as an official observer.
The delegation to be led by Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca Alameda; who is undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the head of its "Culture and Sport" section.
This will occur at the Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb. 9.  The Olympic committee's annual session will occur on Feb. 5-7 where voting members meet to discuss major issues in the world of sports. 
A Vatican delegation attended the opening of the Summer Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, but this was the first time a Vatican delegation was also invited to attend an annual session of the Olympic committee.
Msgr. Sanchez, a former modern pentathlete, told the Vatican newspaper he would present Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, and all Korean Olympic athletes with the official yellow and white jerseys worn by members of the Vatican's running club "Athletica Vaticana," which -- like its other sports teams -- is made up of employees of Vatican City State and the Holy See.
Athletes from both North Korea and South Korea were to walk together during the opening ceremony and were to carry the Korean "Unification Flag" -- a flag designed to represent all of Korea when athletes from the North and South participate as one team in sporting events.
Nearly two dozen North Korean athletes received permission from the IOC to compete in the Winter Games, which take place Feb. 9-25. While athletes will compete for their respective countries, there will be a unified Korean team at the Olympics for the first time as players from both North and South Korea make up a team in women's ice hockey.
Edited from CNS

Today's Mass Readings and Video : #1stSaturday February 3, 2018 - #Eucharist

Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 328

Reading 11 KGS 3:4-13

Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there,
because that was the most renowned high place.
Upon its altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings.
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, "Ask something of me and I will give it to you."
Solomon answered:
"You have shown great favor to your servant, my father David,
because he behaved faithfully toward you,
with justice and an upright heart;
and you have continued this great favor toward him, even today,
seating a son of his on his throne.
O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant,
king to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?"

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him: "Because you have asked for this–
not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right–
I do as you requested.
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you.
In addition, I give you what you have not asked for,
such riches and glory that among kings there is not your like."

Responsorial PsalmPS 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

R. (12b) Lord, teach me your statutes.
How shall a young man be faultless in his way?
By keeping to your words.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.