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Pope Francis: Avoid the temptation of seeking ‘utopia’ in this world

November 27, 2020 CNA Daily News 2

Vatican City, Nov 27, 2020 / 07:00 am (CNA).- In a video message to a Catholic social doctrine conference on Thursday, Pope Francis said that remembering our baptism and the promise of eternal life can help us avoid the temptation to seek “utopia” in this world.

In the message released Nov. 26, he described a positive attitude in which believers are immersed in society yet live their baptism in the light of a future life with God.

“This attitude helps us to overcome the temptation of utopia, to reduce the proclamation of the Gospel to a simple sociological horizon or to get involved in the ‘marketing’ of various economic theories or political factions,” the pope said.

His video message was sent to participants in a Nov. 26-29 online “Festival of Social Doctrine.” The Italian event is in its 10th edition, with this year’s theme being “Memory of the Future.”

The goal of the festival is to be a “leaven in society” and “to create a place of discussion among Catholics engaged in work, in society and in public responsibility” who want to promote the common good.

Referring to the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, “Lumen gentium,” Pope Francis said that “living the memory of the future means making a commitment to ensure that the Church, the great people of God, can constitute on earth the beginning and the seed of the kingdom of God.”

Christians have received “Life in Baptism,” he said, explaining that it is a gift which calls us to communion with God, with others, and with creation.

Communion with God and others requires charity and “the intimacy of prayer in the presence of the Lord,” he explained.

“And,” he continued, “the Life received as a gift is the same life as Christ, and we cannot live as believers in the world except by manifesting his very life in us.”

He warned listeners about a kind of nostalgia “which blocks creativity and makes us rigid and ideological people even in the social, political and ecclesial sphere.”

Memory instead links us to love and experience and is one of the deepest dimensions of the human person, Pope Francis said. 

“This is why the dynamic of Christians is not that of nostalgically holding onto the past, but rather of accessing the eternal memory of the Father; and this is possible by living a life of charity,” he commented.

Living “in the world with the strength and creativity of the life of God in us” is the way “we will be able to fascinate the hearts and the gaze of people to the Gospel of Jesus, we will help make projects of a new inclusive economy, and politics capable of fruitful love,” the pope said.


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Pope Francis hails Argentina’s doctors and nurses as ‘unsung heroes’ of pandemic

November 24, 2020 CNA Daily News 1

Vatican City, Nov 24, 2020 / 06:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis hailed Argentina’s healthcare workers as the “unsung heroes” of the coronavirus pandemic in a video message released Friday. 

In the video, posted on the YouTube account of the Argentine bishops’ conference Nov. 20, the pope expressed his appreciation of doctors and nurses in his homeland. 

He said: “You are the unsung heroes of this pandemic. How many of you have given your lives to be close to the sick! Thanks for the closeness, thanks for the tenderness, thanks for the professionalism with which you take care of the sick.”

The pope recorded the message ahead of Argentina’s Nursing Day on Nov. 21 and Doctors’ Day on Dec. 3. His words were introduced by Bishop Alberto Bochatey, auxiliary bishop of La Plata and president of the Argentine bishops’ health commission, who described them as “a surprise.”

Argentina, which has a population of 44 million, has recorded more than 1,374,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 37,000 deaths as of Nov. 24, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, despite undergoing the world’s longest lockdown.

The pope prayed frequently for healthcare workers when he celebrated livestreamed daily Masses during this year’s lockdown in Italy. 

In May, he said that the coronavirus crisis had shown that governments needed to invest more in healthcare and employ more nurses.

In a message marking International Nurses Day on May 12, he said that the pandemic had exposed the weaknesses of the world’s healthcare systems.

“For this reason, I would ask leaders of nations throughout the world to invest in health care as the primary common good, by strengthening its systems and employing greater numbers of nurses, so as to ensure adequate care to everyone, with respect for the dignity of each person,” he wrote. 

In his message to Argentine medical workers, the pope said: “I want to be close to all doctors and nurses, especially at this time when the pandemic calls us to be close to the men and women who suffer.”

“I pray for you, I ask the Lord to bless each of you, your families, with all my heart, and to accompany you in your work and in the problems you may encounter. May the Lord be close to you as you are close to the sick. And don’t forget to pray for me.”


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Vatican asks Instagram to investigate “Like” by Pope Francis’ account

November 20, 2020 CNA Daily News 0

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 20, 2020 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- The Vatican said that no one in the Holy See “liked” a racy photograph while logged in to Pope Francis’ Instagram account, and has requested that Instagram open an investigation into how or why such a “like” appears to have happened.

“We can rule out that the ‘like’ comes from the Holy See, which has turned to Instagram for explanations,” the Holy See Press Office told CNA Nov. 18.

On Nov. 13, it was widely reported and observed that Pope Francis’ verified, official Instagram account, “Franciscus,” had “liked” a racy photo of model and streamer Natalia Garibotto.

In the picture, Garibotto is wearing a lingerie outfit that resembles a school uniform, and her mostly-uncovered posterior is visible in the picture.  

The photo was no longer liked on November 14, shortly after CNA requested comment from the Holy See’s Press Office. At the time, the office declined to speculated about what could have happened.

Pope Francis does not run his own social media accounts, which are overseen by a team.

It is unclear which devices are used to update the pope’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, and it is also unclear if those who are responsible for updating the pope’s accounts also use personal social media accounts from the same devices. Instagram allows for multiple accounts to be logged in on a single device.

Pope Francis does not follow anyone on his Instagram account, and has 7.3 million followers. Garibotto has 2.3 million followers.

Garibotto’s management and publicity firm, COY Co., used the papal account’s like for publicity purposes, posting on its account Friday that the firm had “received the POPE’S OFFICIAL BLESSING.”

On her personal account, Garibotto posted a photo featuring the same outfit in the picture liked by the pope’s account, and directed people to sign up for a subscription to her website.

“On this very day I was blessed, you could be too,” she wrote, along with the address of her site. Subscribers to her website receive “sexy content, follow back on socials, [the ability to] chat with me directly, monthly cash prize giveaways, signed Polaroids, and more!”



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Pope Francis urges Passionists to help ‘the crucified of our age’

November 20, 2020 CNA Daily News 3

Vatican City, Nov 20, 2020 / 04:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis urged members of the Passionist order Thursday to deepen their commitment to “the crucified of our age” as they mark the 300th anniversary of their founding. 

In a message to Fr. Joachim Rego, superior general of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, the pope challenged the order to focus on helping the poor, the weak and the oppressed.

“Do not tire of accentuating your commitment to the needs of humanity,” the pope said in the message issued Nov. 19. “This missionary calling is directed above all towards the crucified of our age — the poor, the weak, the oppressed and those discarded by many forms of injustice.” 

The pope sent the message, dated Oct. 15, as the Passionists prepared to launch a Jubilee year celebrating the foundation of the order by St. Paul of the Cross in Italy in 1720.

The Jubilee year, whose theme is “Renewing our mission: gratitude prophecy, and hope,” will begin on Sunday, Nov. 22, and end on Jan. 1, 2022.

The pope said that the order’s mission could only be strengthened by an “inner renewal” among the Passionists’ over 2,000 members, present in more than 60 countries

“The implementation of this task will require a sincere effort of inner renewal on your part, which derives from your personal relationship with the Crucified-Risen One,” he said. “Only those crucified by love, as Jesus was on the cross, are able to help the crucified of history with effective words and actions.” 

“In fact, it is not possible to convince others of God’s love only through a verbal and informative proclamation. Concrete gestures are needed to make us experience this love in our own love that is offered by sharing the situations of the crucified, even totally spending one’s life, while remaining aware that between the proclamation and its acceptance in faith there is the action of the Holy Spirit.”

At 10.30 a.m. local time on Nov. 22, the Passionist Jubilee will begin with the opening of the Holy Door in the Basilica of Sts. John and Paul in Rome, followed by an inaugural Mass. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin will be the principal concelebrant and the event will be livestreamed.

The Jubilee year will include an international congress, on “The wisdom of the cross in a pluralistic world,” at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome on Sept. 21-24, 2021.

There will also be a number of opportunities to gain indulgences throughout the year, including by visiting the founder’s birthplace of Ovada in the northern Italian region of Piedmont.

The Passionists trace their origins back to Nov. 22, 1720, the day that Paul Danei received the habit of a hermit and began a 40-day retreat in a small cell in the Church of San Carlo in Castellazzo. During the retreat, he wrote the Rule of “The Poor of Jesus,” which laid the foundations of the future Congregation of the Passion.

Danei took the religious name Paul of the Cross and built up the order that would come to be known as the Passionists because of their commitment to preaching the Passion of Jesus Christ. He died in 1775 and was canonized in 1867 by Pope Pius IX.

Passionists wear a black habit with the distinctive emblem over their hearts. The Passion Sign, as it is known, consists of a heart with the words “Jesu XPI Passio” (the Passion of Jesus Christ) written inside. There are three crossed nails beneath these words and a large white cross at the top of the heart.

In his message to Passionists, the pope quoted from his 2013 apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium.” 

“This significant centennial anniversary represents a providential opportunity to move towards new apostolic goals, without giving in to the temptation to ‘leave things as they are,’” he wrote. 

“Contact with the Word of God in prayer and reading the signs of the times in daily events will enable you to perceive the creative presence of the Spirit whose outpouring over time, points out the answers to humanity’s expectations. No one can escape the fact that today we live in a world where nothing is the same as before.”

He continued: “Humanity is in a spiral of changes that call into question not only the value of the cultural currents that have enriched it so far, but also the intimate constitution of its being. Nature and the cosmos, subject to pain and decay due to human manipulation, take on worrying degenerative traits. You too are asked to identify new lifestyles and new forms of language in order to proclaim the love of the Crucified One, thus giving witness to the heart of your identity.”