No Picture
News Briefs

Chilean court dismisses case of bishop accused of abuse

February 1, 2018 CNA Daily News 1

Santiago, Chile, Feb 1, 2018 / 05:00 pm (CNA).- The Iquique Court of Appeals in northern Chile has officially closed an investigation against the Bishop Emeritus of Iquique, Marco Órdenes, accused of rape. A canonical investigation into the bishop is still ongoing.

“There is not probable cause to substantiate the charges made in December 2008,” stated a Jan 26. decision, which confirmed the findings of a five year investigation conducted by a lower court judge, Pedro Güiza Gutierrez.

Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernandez, 53, was Bishop of Iquique between 2006 and 2013. In December 2008, he was accused of abuse by Rodrigo Pino, 27.

In October 2012, Pino told ADN Radio that he met the priest in 1997 when he was 15 and an altar server at the Iquique cathedral.

The young man maintained that “at first it was forced” but later a consensual relationship developed. However, in 2008 he met another man who also was allegedly abused by Órdenes, which motivated him to report the incidents.

The Holy See began a canonical investigation in April 2012. The outcome of the investigation has not yet been determined.

In October 2012, Órdenes’ resignation as diocesan bishop was accepted. Immediately afterwards, the Chilean Bishops’ Conference made a statement on the “gravity of the inappropriate conduct that Bishop  Órdenes has publicly acknowledged” and offered its “full cooperation” in the investigation.

In a statement released Saturday Jan. 27, the Diocese of Iquique said that the “Church accepts and abides by the decisions” of the court.

However, they clarified that the Church’s investigation “has not concluded with a verdict.”

The current Bishop of Iquique, Guillermo Vera, asked the faithful “to take the news calmly and with prudence, always keeping uppermost, as the Holy Father asked us during his visit [Jan. 18] to our diocese, respect for individuals.”

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Venezuelan archbishop decries plan to change election date

January 29, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Caracas, Venezuela, Jan 29, 2018 / 04:34 pm (ACI Prensa).- Archbishop Diego Padrón of Cumaná, former president of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference, denounced plans to advance presidential elections in the country by more than seven months.

“In any country in the world, democracy operates with clarity, with transparency. Instead, [this] is a midnight ambush,” the archbishop told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister agency, Jan 24.

The country’s National Constituent Assembly issued a decree on Jan. 23 to move up the elections that are usually held in December to no later than April 30, a measure that was “approved by acclamation” according to Delcy Rodriguez, the president of the assembly.

The Archbishop of Cumaná said that “as a Venezuelan, it is my opinion that moving up the date for elections has no legal basis.”

He added that the National Constituent Assembly “is very discredited because it is fraudulent in its origin and how it is run.”

Venezuela is currently in the midst of a severe economic crisis, with hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine.

The country’s socialist government is widely blamed for the crisis. Since 2003, price controls on some 160 products, including cooking oil, soap and flour, have meant that while the items are affordable, they fly off store shelves only to be resold on the black market at much higher rates. The International Monetary Fund has forecasted an inflation rate of 2,300 percent in Venezuela in 2018.

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro is due to run for re-election this year, as his term ends in 2019.

Last July, contested elections led to the formation of a National Constituent Assembly, which has superseded the authority of the National Assembly, Venezuela’s opposition-controlled legislature.

Mass protests against the Constituent Assembly were held, in which more than 120 people were killed by security forces.

Following the decree from the National Constituent Assembly, President Maduro asked the Board of Elections to set the closest day possible for voting, saying, “We’re going to get this over with as soon as possible.”  

Maduro also said that the elections will be held with or without the opposition.

According to the BBC, it is unknown whether any opposition candidate will run since the main leaders, Henrique Capriles and Leopoldo Lopez, have been disqualified from running for office.

Capriles was banned from running for office for 15 years by the Comptroller General’s Office for alleged irregularities in the state of Miranda where he was governor, the Associated Press reported last April.

In September 2015, El Confidencial news reported that Lopez was sentenced to 14 years in military prison for allegedly inciting violence at an anti-government demonstration the previous year.

Moving up the date of the election has been rejected by the Venezuelan opposition and the “Lima Group,” a coalition which is comprised of representatives from 14 countries of the Americas.

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz read a statement on the matter emphasizing that “this decision makes it impossible to hold democratic, transparent and credible presidential elections.”

The text of the statement was approved by delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Santa Lucía.

“We demand that the presidential elections be held with enough time to properly prepare for participation by all Venezuelan political actors and with all the corresponding guarantees,” the text adds.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Chilean legislators pass gender-identity bill

January 26, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Santiago, Chile, Jan 27, 2018 / 12:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Chilean House of Representatives has passed a bill that “recognizes and gives protection to gender identity,” an initiative considered a priority by the government of President … […]

No Picture
News Briefs

Catholic bishops join with rabbis, imams in Canadian religious liberty fight

January 26, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Toronto, Canada, Jan 26, 2018 / 03:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Interreligious leaders from across Canada came together Thursday to sign a statement urging the national government to respect their freedom of conscience by changing controversial new requirements to qualify for federal funding of youth summer jobs.

“The changes to the Canada Summer Jobs guidelines and application not only violate the fundamental freedoms of faith-based organizations, they also significantly impact the broader communities served by their programs, often the most vulnerable in Canadian Society,” reads the interreligious statement signed Jan. 25 by 87 religious leaders, organizations, and institutions.

Signatories included representatives of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches, as well as the Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim communities of Canada.

Federal funding requirements for the Canada Summer Jobs program were added Dec. 19, 2017 stipulating that “both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada,” including “reproductive rights,” or the right to abortion access.

“An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion and the rights of women to control their own bodies is not in line with where we are as a government, and quite frankly, where we are as a society,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he discussed the Canada Summer Jobs program Jan. 10.

Trudeau continued, “Women have fought for generations for the right to control their own bodies, to be able to choose for themselves what to do with their bodies … There are organizations that couch themselves in freedom of speech and freedom of conscience … when those beliefs lead to actions aimed to restrict a women’s right on what to do with her body, that’s where we draw the line.”

Diverse religious leaders came together in Toronto the afternoon of Jan. 25 and released the following statement:

“We … call on the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada to amend the Canada Summer Jobs guidelines and application process so that it does not compel agreement or belief, and allows religious organization to stay true to their communal identity and beliefs. The new application requires each organization to give non-negotiable and unqualified affirmation of certain beliefs held by the government.”

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto was among the speakers at the statement’s release.

“Many organizations will be deemed ineligible because they are unable to or unwilling to attest that their core mandate and beliefs align with the current government’s self-identified values. These groups, though their views and actions are accepted by law and by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are being denied access to a government benefit solely because of their religious beliefs or conscientious objection,” said Cardinal Collins.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops originally raised objections to changes in the federal funding requirements for the Canada Summer Jobs program in a Jan. 11 statement.

In response, the Canadian government issued “supplementary information” Jan. 23 about what situations would warrant a denial of funds. This clarification of the new policy emphasizes a distinction between the activities and the beliefs of an organization when the government determines who will receive funding.

The statement also includes five example of how eligibility is determined, with a hypothetical “faith-based organization with anti-abortion beliefs” among its examples.

“Example 1: An organization whose primary activities are focused on removing, or actively undermining existing women’s reproductive rights, applies for funding. This organization would not be eligible to apply,” begins the list.

The next example differentiates a situation in which “a faith-based organization with anti-abortion beliefs applies for funding to hire students to serve meals to the homeless. The organization provides numerous programs in support of their community. The students would be responsible for meal planning, buying groceries, serving meals, etc. This organization would be eligible to apply,” according to the Employment and Social Development department of Canada.

However, a summer camp that “does not welcome LGBTQ2 young people” would not be eligible to apply for funding to hire students as camp counselors, while “a faith-based organization that embraces a traditional definition of marriage” could hire students for the primary purpose of assisting the elderly “regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,” according to other examples.

The examples thus hinge on whether the core mandate, which is defined as the “the primary activities undertaken by the organization,” respect the “established individual human rights of Canada,” rather than the beliefs or values of the organization.

Father Raymond de Souza, a priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston, commented on this distinction saying, “It is embarrassing that the employment minister seems unaware a basic element of political liberty, freedom of expression and religious liberty is that the state does not determine what the “core mandate” of a citizen is,” in an opinion piece at the National Post.

Patty Hajdu, the Canadian Minister of Employment, Workforce, and Labour, wrote on Twitter Jan. 23 that “Canadians expect us to defend their hard-won rights. Canada Summer Jobs funding will no longer support activities that seek to remove individual rights, like a woman’s right to choose or LGBTQ2 rights.”

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops told CNA Jan. 24 that they remain “seriously concerned that the beliefs and practices of Catholics and other faith traditions will exclude them from receiving funding through the Canada Summer Jobs Program.”

“The attestation and examples still amount to the government’s coercion on matters of conscience and religious belief. They foreclose the possibility of wide ranging views and even healthy disagreement,” the bishops explained.

“In the Archdiocese of Toronto alone, we know that at least 150 summer jobs will be impacted by the new application requirements,” Cardinal Collins said at the interreligious press conference.

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Cecile Richards reportedly stepping down from Planned Parenthood

January 24, 2018 CNA Daily News 1

Washington D.C., Jan 24, 2018 / 01:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cecile Richards, who has served as president of Planned Parenthood since 2006, will soon step down from her position, two sources told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday.

No official timetable has been reported, but a statement provided to BuzzFeed said that Richards “plans to discuss 2018 and the next steps for Planned Parenthood’s future” at next week’s board meeting.

During Richards’ tenure as president, Planned Parenthood increased the number of abortions performed each year by more than 10 percent. In 2006, Planned Parenthood performed 289,750 abortions. In the 2016-2017 report, that number had grown to 321,384.

On average, Planned Parenthood carried out 320,000 abortions each year during Richards’ tenure.

Despite increasing the number of abortions during her time as president, the overall number of patients treated by Planned Parenthood fell. In 2006, Planned Parenthood treated 3.1 million people. In 2016, that number had dropped to 2.4 million, yet the amount of federal funding received by Planned Parenthood had increased by over $200 million.

A total of 32 clinics closed during the last year alone.

During Richards’ time as president, a series of videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress alleged that Planned Parenthood was involved in the sale of aborted fetal parts for profit.

The Department of Justice is currently investigating Planned Parenthood due to these videos. Congress earlier launched several investigations.

It is not immediately clear what Richards plans on doing next, although her memoir, titled “Make Trouble,” will be released in April.

News of Richards’ departure was well-received from former Planned Parenthood clinic worker Abby Johnson. Johnson, who now leads the pro-life group “And Then There Were None,” comprised of former abortion clinic employees, said in a statement that she would enjoy hearing from Richards now that she’s left the industry.

“As an organization that helps abortion workers leave their jobs, we would love to hear from Cecile as she exits the industry and have her hear from former workers of her organization – and how leaving was the best choice they made,” said Johnson.

“As a powerful woman, she has the capability to stand up for women and their families without relying on the lie that abortion is good for them and empowers them, when in reality it does the opposite.”

 

 

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

‘Rambo’ the hero: Dog saves nuns from fire

January 23, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Santiago, Chile, Jan 23, 2018 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- A dog named Rambo lived up to his “action hero” name, when his barking alerted sleeping religious sisters that a chapel next to their convent was on fire.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 20, a fire destroyed the Virgen de la Candelaria Chapel in the town of Calafquen, Chile, next to the home of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters. Police suspect the fire was caused by arson.

Fr. Alejandro Gutiérrez is the pastor of San Sebastián Parish, which includes the chapel. The priest told Radio Bio Bio that the sisters’ house “is attached to the church. A much greater tragedy could have happened there. If  the dog’s barking hadn’t alerted them, the fire would have spread to the convent and we would be grieving over a much more serious incident.”

Gutiérrez explained that the chapel was 80 years old, and the sisters there worked mainly in education.”

“This just creates a new opportunity to continue serving Jesus Christ and to strengthen our faith,” he priest  said.

Sources told ACI Prensa that around 3:30 in the morning, a group of masked arsonists broke a window in the rear of the Church, and threw a fire bomb inside.

Four companies of firefighters arrived on scene to fight the flames. With the help of the neighbors they were able to keep the fire from spreading to the nuns’ convent.

The Panguipulli fire chief, Rodolfo Zúñiga, told Cooperativa Radio that the electricity to the church was shut off at the junction box, so the fire was probably caused by a third party.

“Unfortunately for our town, as residents of Panguipulli, [arson] is already becoming routine, the situation is lamentable, but once again today we had one of the most beautiful chapels in the area reduced to rubble,” the fire chief said.

The Carmelite superior, Sister Maria Daniela, told Radio Bio Bio that she believes the fire was intentional, though the sisters had not received any kind of threats.

“We are women of peace. This is an oasis of peace,” the religious explained. “I never would have imagined that people would come and do something bad.”

Sister Maria Daniela sent a message to those responsible: “you need to place yourselves in the presence of God. It’s sad to know that there are people dedicated to doing evil, because the world does not progress with evil.”

Two other churches in Panguipulli were also recently attacked and two received threats, including the town’s main church.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

 

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Pope Francis: Final verdict on Sodalitium founder likely ‘unfavorable’

January 22, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jan 22, 2018 / 09:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On board the papal flight from Lima to Rome, Pope Francis said a final Vatican verdict on the founder of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, accused of serial sexual and psychological abuse, will soon be available, and likely won’t be in the founder’s favor.

Speaking to the 70 some journalists on board his Jan. 21 LATAM flight, the Pope said the case of the founder, Luis Fernando Figari, is currently before the case of appeals in the Apostolic Signatura, and “will be released in less than a month.”

“I am not very informed, but the thing is very unfavorable for the founder,” he said.

Francis spoke during an inflight press conference on his return flight to Rome following a Jan. 15-21 trip to Chile and Peru.

Although the crisis in the Sodalitium did not come up in any of the Pope’s public speeches or audiences in Peru, it has had an enormous impact on the Church in the country since scandals involving Figari became publicly known in 2015.

When asked by a journalist about corruption in the Church, Pope Francis admitted that there are cases, saying “this has always been so. Men and women of the Church have engaged in the game of corruption.”

Regarding the Sodalitium in particular, the Pope noted that the group, a Catholic society of apostolic life, first began to experience scandals when it was discovered out that German Doig, a prominent member of the community who died and whose cause for canonization had been opened, had been leading a double life.

“This is the first chaos of the Sodalitium that I know of,” Francis said, explaining that scandals involving the founder came later with allegations “not only sexual, but of manipulation of the conscience.”

The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae was established by Figari in 1971 in Peru, and was granted pontifical recognition in 1997. Alejandro Bermúdez, executive director of CNA, is a member of the community.

In addition to founding the SCV, a community of men, Figari also founded the Marian Community of Reconciliation and the Servants of the Plan of God, a community of women and an order of women religious. In 2002, he was named a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and served in subsequent consultative roles at the Vatican.  

Figari stepped down as superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae in 2010, after allegations of abuse surfaced in Peru. The current superior general is Alessandro Moroni Llabres.

The community gained attention after the publication of a 2015 book by journalists Paola Ugaz and Pedro Salinas, chronicling years of alleged sexual, physical and psychological abuse by members of the SCV.

In May 2016 the Pope named Archbishop Tobin as the pontifical delegate charged with overseeing the community’s handling of the investigation and their process of reform.

In February of 2017, a team of independent investigators commissioned by the Sodalitium reported that “Figari sexually assaulted at least one child, manipulated, sexually abused, or harmed several other young people; and physically or psychologically abused dozens of others.”

The Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life issued a decree the same month forbidding Figari from any contact with the religious community, and banning him from returning to Peru without permission from the current superior of the Sodalitium. Figari was also forbidden to make any public statements.

However, Figari has maintained his innocence, and following the decision of the Vatican’s congregation for religious institutes in 2017, made an appeal to the Apostolic Signatura, which is the Vatican’s supreme court.

In his comments, Francis said the initial trial and investigation were “the trigger for other victims of this person to make civil and ecclesial claims.”

“If the Apostolic Signature decides in favor of the appeal, it will not make sense,” he said, “because many, many serious cases are accumulating.”

Francis said that in addition to sexual and psychological abuse, Cardinal Tobin also found financial irregularities during his investigation that were linked to Figari, prompting him to name an official commissioner to oversee the order alongside Cardinal Tobin as they work to carry out reform.

Shortly before traveling to Peru, on Jan. 10, Francis named Colombian Bishop Noel Antonio Londoño Buitrago C.Ss.R. as papal commissioner for the Sodalitium.

In his role, Londoño, Bishop of Jericó, will oversee the community as they continue a process of reform. He will carry out his work alongside Cardinal Tobin, who will continue to be the group’s liaison with the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and will focus primarily on reforming economic matters.

Pope Francis said the steps he is taking in the Sodalitium case are similar “to that of the Legionaries, which were carried out by Benedict XVI. And in this he was very strong. He didn’t tolerate these things, and I understood from him not to tolerate them.”

“The legal status is [that they are] under a custodian and the apostolic visit continues,” he said.

In 2006, with the approval of the Pope, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith imposed upon Maciel “a retired life of prayer and penance, renouncing any form of public ministry.” Due to his advanced age, Maciel was not the subject of a formal canonical trial.
 
From that point on, Benedict XVI carried out a process of reform for the Legionaries, and in 2010 named then-Archbishop Velasio de Paolis as papal delegate to serve in a role similar to what Londoño will have for the SVC.

After his appointment, De Paolis formed a commission charged with drafting new constitutions for the Legionaries. He completed his mandate in 2014 when the new constitutions were approved by Pope Francis. The cardinal died in September 2017.

 

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Pope in Peru: ‘Be the saints of the 21st century’

January 21, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Lima, Peru, Jan 21, 2018 / 04:15 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On his last day in Peru, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to imitate Jesus, who embraces the poor and suffering, and brings hope.

The Pope urged Peru’s youth to look to their grandparents and elders in order to discover “the DNA that guided their great saints,” telling them “do not lose your roots! And you, grandparents and elders, keep passing on to the new generations the traditions of your people and the wisdom that charts the path to heaven.”

“I urge all of you not to be afraid to be the saints of the 21st century,” he said, telling Peruvians that there is no better way to protect their hope “than to remain united, so that these reasons for hope may grow day by day in your hearts.”

Pope Francis offered Mass at Lima’s Las Palmas Airbase on Jan. 21, his last day in Peru, bringing an end to his Jan. 15-21 tour of South America, which also included a three-day visit to Chile.

In his homily, he acknowledged the difficulties Catholics in Peru face. “Sometimes what happened to Jonah can happen to us. Our cities, with their daily situations of pain and injustice, can leave us tempted to flee, to hide, to run away,” the Pope said.

Jonah is an Old Testament prophet depicted in a scriptural book of the same name, who attempted to “flee the presence of the Lord” rather than follow a call from God.

Looking around, “Jonah, and we, have plenty of excuses to [flee],” Pope Francis said, noting that while Lima has many people who are well-off, it is also populated by the homeless: “’non-citizens,’ ‘the half-citizens’ or ‘urban remnants’” found on the streets, many of whom are children.

Faced with the desperation of people in extreme poverty, Francis said some Catholics can contract “Jonah syndrome” – which causes them to be indifferent, “deaf” and “cold of heart” to others.

Quoting his predecessor, Benedict XVI, Francis said “the true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer.”

A society that is unable to accept the suffering of others and which is “incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through ‘com-passion,’” he said, “is a cruel and inhuman society.”

The Pope noted that in the day’s Gospel reading, Jesus did the opposite of Jonah: rather than fleeing, he entered a city to encounter those who were desperate and suffering, and to bring them hope.

Francis encouraged Peruvians to respond with the attitude of Jesus, who entered Galilee “to sow the seeds of a great hope.”

A seed of hope, he said, had been passed down through the apostles and the great saints of Peru, and is present now “in order to act once more as a timely antidote to the globalization of indifference.”

“In the face of [Jesus’] love, one cannot remain indifferent,” he said.
 
“He begins to bring to light many situations that had killed the hope of his people and to awaken a new hope,” and calls new disciples, inviting them to walk at a different pace which allows them to notice “what they had previously overlooked, and he points out new and pressing needs.”

Jesus is involved in the lives of his people and is not afraid to get others involved too, Francis said, adding that he calls us and wants to anoint us so that “we too can go out to anoint others with the oil capable of healing wounded hopes and renewing our way of seeing things.”

The Pope said Jesus also wants to awaken in Catholics a hope which “frees us from empty associations and impersonal analyses,” and encourages faith to enter “like leaven” into every aspect of our daily lives.

God will never tire of going out to meet his children, he said, asking “how will we enkindle hope if prophets are lacking? How will we face the future if unity is lacking? How will Jesus reach all those corners if daring and courageous witnesses are lacking?”

“Today the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city, in your city,” he said. “He invites you to become his missionary disciple, so that you can become part of that great whisper that wants to keep echoing in the different corners of our lives: Rejoice, the Lord is with you!”

After Mass, Pope Francis thanked all those who helped organize his visit, including Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the country’s civil authorities and the many volunteers who dedicated their time.

Francis noted that he began his trip by speaking of Peru as a land of hope, which he said comes from the country’s rich biodiversity, its various cultures and traditions, and because of its youth, “who are not the future but the present of Peru.”

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Don’t ‘photoshop’ your heart – be who you are, Pope tells young Peruvians

January 21, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Lima, Peru, Jan 21, 2018 / 11:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Pope Francis told Peruvian youth that Jesus doesn’t want disciples who have been “photoshopped” to perfection, but like the great saints of the past, God calls people to follow him with trust and enthusiasm, despite their weaknesses.

“When Jesus looks at us, he does not think about how perfect we are, but about all the love we have in our hearts to give in serving others,” the Pope said Jan. 21.

With technology it’s easy to digitally enhance photos to make them look the way we want, but this only works for pictures, he said. “We cannot ‘photoshop’ others, the world, or ourselves. Color filtering and high definition only function well in video; we can never apply them to our friends.”

These pictures might turn out nice, but they are “completely fake,” the Pope said, and assured the youth that their hearts “can’t be ‘photoshopped,’ because that’s where authentic love and genuine happiness have to be found.”

“Jesus does not want you to have a cosmetic heart,” he said. “He loves you as you are, and he has a dream for every one of you. Do not forget, he does not get discouraged with us.”

“Moses, he was not articulate; Abraham, an old man; Jeremiah, very young; Zacchaeus, small of stature; the disciples, who fell asleep when Jesus told them they should pray; Paul, a persecutor of Christians; Peter, who denied him,” and the list could go on, he said. “So what excuse can we offer?”

Jesus, Francis explained, wants youth who are “on the move. He wants to see you achieve your ideals and to be enthusiastic in following his instructions.”

This is a difficult path that can’t be walked alone, but must be one “as a team, where each member offers the best of his or her self,” he said, adding that “Jesus is counting on you” just as he counted on the many Peruvian saints who influenced society, including St. Rose of Lima, St. Turibius, St. Juan Macías and St. Francisco Solano, among others.

“Today (Jesus) asks if, like them, you are ready to follow him,” the Pope said, asking the youths “are you willing to follow him? To be guided by his Spirit in making present his Kingdom of justice and love?”

Pope Francis spoke to youth in Lima’s Plaza de Armas before reciting the Angelus on the last day of his Jan. 15-21 visit to Chile and Peru. Earlier in the day he prayed Terce, also called the prayer of the “Third Hour” in the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours, with contemplative sisters.

He also met with the country’s bishops, and after lunch will celebrate Mass at Lima’s “Las Palmas” airbase before returning to Rome.

In his speech to youth, Francis directed them to the example of one of his favorite Peruvian saints, Martin de Porres, who was a the son of a Spanish nobleman and a black slave woman. The saint had wanted to enter the Dominican order, but was initially prevented from becoming a brother due to a law at the time that prevented people of mixed race from joining religious orders.

“Nothing prevented that young man from achieving his dreams, nothing prevented him from spending his life for others, nothing prevented him from loving, and he did so because he had realized that the Lord loved him first,” the Pope said.

Because he was a “mulato,” meaning a person of mixed race, St. Martin had to endure many hardships, but he knew how to do one thing that was the secret to his ultimate happiness: “he knew how to trust.”

“He trusted in the Lord who loved him. Do you know why? Because the Lord had trusted him first; just as he trusts each of you and will never tire of trusting you,” the Pope said.

When we face similar difficulties in our lives, and are tempted to become negative or discouraged, “remember that Jesus is by your side,” Francis said. “Do not give up! Do not lose hope!”

The Pope told the young people to look to the saints for encouragement, but he also urged them ask for help from people they know can give them good advice, and to let these people accompany and guide them as they go forward in life.

“The Lord looks on you with hope,” he said, explaining that God is never discouraged with us, but it is we who get discouraged with ourselves.

Pope Francis closed his speech telling youth to turn to Mary, who will encourage and support them “lest you grow discouraged. And if you get discouraged by anything, do not worry, for she will tell Jesus. Just don’t stop praying, don’t stop asking, don’t stop trusting in her maternal protection.”

 

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

The Church needs you, Francis tells contemplative sisters in Peru

January 21, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Lima, Peru, Jan 21, 2018 / 08:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to contemplative women religious Sunday, Pope Francis said that they aren’t second-class, but a necessary part of the Church, and asked them to continue to pray on behalf of the Church and sinners.

“Sisters, know something: The Church doesn’t tolerate you, it needs you!” the Pope said in off-the-cuff remarks Jan. 21.

“Be beacons of light. And pray for the Church, for the shepherds, for those who hurt others, and those who exploit their siblings. And going on with the list of sinners, don’t forget to pray for me.”

Pope Francis spoke during a homily at the end of praying “Terce,” the prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours sung or said at 9a.m., with contemplative women religious in Lima’s Shrine of the Lord of Miracles.

The prayer took place on the last day of his Jan. 18-22 apostolic visit to Peru, which followed a three-day visit to Chile. He will return to Rome Jan. 22.

In his homily he quoted St. Therese of the Child Jesus, who once wrote in a letter: “I was certain that love subsumes in itself all vocations, that love is everything, encompassing all times and places, in a word, that love is eternal…in the heart of the Church, who is my Mother, I will be love.”

“To be love! This means being able to stand alongside the suffering of so many of our brothers and sisters,” Francis continued. “In this way, your cloistered life can attain a missionary and universal outreach and play ‘a fundamental role in the life of the Church.’”

“For this very reason, we can state that cloistered life neither closes nor shrinks our hearts, but rather widens them in our relationship with the Lord,” he explained. “May intercession for those in need be the hallmark of your prayer.”

The Pope also noted the words of St. Paul in his Letter to Romans, where he says that we have received a spirit of adoption, making us “children of God.”

“Those few words sum up the richness of every Christian vocation: the joy of knowing we are God’s children,” Francis said. This is the experience that nourishes our lives, that seeks always to be a pleasing response to God’s love. How important it is to renew this joy day by day!”

Following his meeting with women religious, Pope Francis made a stop at the Cathedral of Lima to pray in front of relics of five Peruvian saints.

During the stop he prayed in silence for a few minutes, before offering a prayer together with those present, stating his thanksgiving for the gifts the Lord has bestowed on the Church in Lima, especially the gift of holiness, “that has flourished in our land.”

“Our Archdiocesan Church has been made fruitful by the apostolic labors of Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, enlarged by the prayer, penance and charity of Saint Rose of Lima and Saint Martin de Porres, adorned by the missionary zeal of Saint Francisco Solano and the humble service of Saint Juan Macías,” he prayed.

After the prayer and benediction, Francis met with the bishops of Peru in the chapel of Lima’s chancery.

In his speech to bishops he focused on the 16th century saint from Spain, St. Turibius of Mogrovejo, who served as the archbishop of Lima for 25 years, and is known for having upheld the rights of Peru’s indigenous peoples.

He was canonized in 1726, making him one of the first canonized saints of the Americas. During his time as archbishop, Turibius made three different visitations to the land of his diocese, crossing rugged and dangerous terrain.

“He went out to encounter everyone, along paths that, in the words of his secretary, were meant more for goats than for people,” Francis said.

“He knew that this was the one way to be a pastor: to be close to his own, dispensing the sacraments, and he constantly exhorted his priests to do the same,” not just with words, but as a witness “in the front lines of evangelization.”

The Pope noted that when St. Turibius was visiting and living with his people he learned to speak their languages so that they could really understand the Gospel, and it could touch their hearts.

This is a good lesson for bishops of the 21st century too, he pointed out, who not only sometimes need to learn new languages in the traditional sense, but also to learn the language of the digital age, in order to communicate well with young people, families and children.

St. Turibius also believed that “there could be no evangelization without charity,” Francis said. “He knew that the supreme form of evangelization is to model in our own lives the self-giving of Jesus Christ, out of love for every man and woman.”

“Dear brothers, work for unity,” Francis concluded. “Do not remain prisoners of divisions that create cliques and hamper our vocation to be a sacrament of communion.”

“Remember: what was attractive about the early church was how they loved one another. That was – and is and always will be – the best way to evangelize.”

At the end of the meeting, the Pope also held a lengthy question-and-answer session with the bishops.

[…]