Vatican City, May 26, 2018 / 04:24 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis Saturday criticized what he said is a “tragic” and false dichotomy that has been created between religious ethics and the economic-financial sector of society, telling bus… […]
Vatican City, May 25, 2018 / 05:54 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Next week the poor, homeless, refugees, migrants and needy around Rome will be offered free tickets to the city’s Golden Gala, an international track and field event that happens annually in the Eternal City.
Set to take place in Rome’s Olympic stadium May 31, the gala will begin at 2p.m., with the last event starting at 10:25p.m. Events slated for the gala include a discus throw, relay races, pole vault jumps, hurdles and Paralympic courses for both men and women.
The gala was established in 1980 by Italian sports official and then-president of the Italian Athletics Federation (FIDAL) Primo Nebiolo as a way to gather athletes and individuals from the United States and NATO countries who boycotted the Moscow Olympics in wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Francis’ guests will enter the event free of charge thanks to FIDAL, and they will be accompanied by volunteers from the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Cooperativa Auxilium – an Italian co-op that offers welfare services to the disadvantaged – and Athletica Vaticana, the running association for employees of the Holy See.
The goal of the event, according to the papal almoner’s office, is to offer the poor “an evening of celebration and friendship through the beauty of [sports]” and to place greater emphasis on the importance of hospitality and solidarity.
In addition to their free entry, those who come with the papal almoner will be offered a sack dinner.
Such initiatives on the part of the pope are not uncommon. He frequently invites the poor, homeless, migrants and refugees to special events such as concerts, tours of the Vatican Museums and days at the beach. Showers and haircuts are also available inside St. Peter’s Square courtesy of the papal almoner.
The man who heads the papal charity office, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, was recent tapped by Francis to become a cardinal. He will get his red hat from the pope during a June 29 consistory, showing the importance Pope Francis places on service to the poor.
Vatican City, May 24, 2018 / 11:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a closed-door speech to Italian bishops on Monday, Pope Francis reportedly spoke about the number and quality of seminary candidates, including concerns about their sexual orientation.
At the start of his May 21 audience with Italian bishops, Pope Francis voiced three areas of concern for the Church in Italy, the first of which was the lack of vocations.
Francis’ brief remarks on his concerns, which also touched on evangelical poverty and transparency and the incorporation of Italian dioceses, were televised; however, his discussion with the bishops afterward was not.
In his public remarks on vocations, Pope Francis lamented the culture of the provisional, of relativism, and of the dictatorship of money, which hinder young people from discerning consecrated life. He also proposed that Italian dioceses with an abundance of vocations lend some of their priests to those Italian dioceses lacking in priests.
But according to Italian media sites, in the discussion that followed the pope was more direct, telling the bishops to care more for the quality of seminary candidates than the quantity.
He reportedly touched on the topic of homosexuality, particularly when it comes to individuals with “deep-seated tendencies” or who practice “homosexual acts”, yet who want to enter the seminary.
In these cases, “if you have even the slightest doubt it’s better not to let them enter,” Francis said, because these acts or deep-seated tendencies can lead to scandals and can compromise the life of the seminary, as well as the man himself and his future priesthood.
Pope Francis’ comments were allegedly made during the opening May 21 session of the 71st general assembly of the Italian bishops’ conference. Several Italian news sites have reported on the pope’s comments, but they have not been confirmed by the Vatican or by the Italian bishops.
However, the pope’s statements on the issue of homosexuality and the seminary reflect the Church’s teaching on the topic.
In the 2016 edition of the Congregation for Clergy’s ratio on priestly formation, the dicastery had written that “in relation to people with homosexual tendencies who approach seminaries, or who discover this situation in the course of formation, in coherence with her own magisterium, ‘the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.’”
The ratio quoted from the Congregation for Catholic Education’s 2005 instruction “Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”
The instruction noted that those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the gay culture “find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”
It distinguished those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies from those “with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem – for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded.”
Men with transitory homosexual tendencies could be admitted to seminary, the congregation wrote, though “such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.”
Though Pope Francis has not addressed the topic publicly, he alluded to problems of homosexuality in seminary formation during a recent meeting with Chilean bishops.
In a letter written to the bishops which was leaked to Chilean media, the pope issued a sharp correction of his brother prelates for a systematic cover-up of clerical abuse in the country.
One footnote in the letter noted how abuses were not limited to just one person or group, but was rather the result of a fractured seminary process.
In the case of many abusers in Chile, Francis noted how problems had been detected while they were in seminary or the novitiate, but rather than expelling these individuals, some bishops or superiors “sent priests suspected of active homosexuality to these educational institutions.”
Vatican City, May 24, 2018 / 05:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking about St. Pope John XXIII’s encyclical on establishing universal peace, Pacem in terris, Pope Francis said that even 55 years after its publication, the document still stands as &ld… […]
Vatican City, May 23, 2018 / 02:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The professor who chaired a Vatican study group on Humanae Vitae stressed that the Bl. Paul VI’s encyclical “needs no updating.”
Professor Gilfredo Marengo, of the Pontifical Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, spoke with CNA at the presentation of his latest book, “Chiesa senza storia, storia senza Chiesa” (Church without history, history without the Church), which explores the implications and consequences of Gaudium et Spes, the Second Vatican Council’s pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world.
Professor Marengo told CNA that, according to his studies, “one of the biggest knots in drafting Humanae Vitae was really that of going beyond the polarization between doctrine and pastoral issues.”
Professor Marengo added that Blessed Pope Paul VI “focused on this knowledge, and worked a lot to take the encyclical out of that polarization.”
Unfortunately, he said, polarization has increased in recent years, but, added that “the question cannot be solved by imagining a new doctrine or a new pastoral activity, but by going beyond the polarization.”
Professor Marengo stressed that “Humanae Vitae is an authoritative document of the Catholic Church, and it is part of the tradition. We are called to welcome it as it is, and to apply it with an intelligent pastoral plan.”
However, despite being “the most discussed encyclical in the last 50 years,” there is “no need to update it,” Professor Marengo stressed.
In the end, all that discussion might be framed into a general debate that took place after the Second Vatican Council, he said.
Professor Marengo heads a study group undertaking a historical-critical investigation into the drafting of Humanae Vitae. The aim is to reconstruct, as well as possible, the whole process of drafting the document.
As is widely known, the drafting of Humanae Vitae endured several pressures before its publication and even after its publication.
Beyond Professor Marengo, the study group on Humanae Vitae is reportedly composed of Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, head of the John Paul II Institute, Philippe Chenaux, a professor of Church history at the Pontifical Lateran University, and Msgr. Angelo Maffeis, head of the Paul VI Institute in Brescia.
In 2017, Professor Marengo told reporters that the group was given access to the Vatican Secret Archives for mid-1960s, the time of Humanae Vitae’s drafting.
Professor Marengo told CNA that “the Second Vatican Council has facilitated the resolution of polarization between pastoral and doctrinal issues.”
He added that Pope Francis “is investing a lot in this resolution,” as “one of the most meaningful aspects of Pope Francis’ biography is that he is the first post-conciliar pope: all the [recent] previous popes participated to the Council, but this pope did not, and so he can look at the Council with a less emotional viewpoint.”
Vatican City, May 23, 2018 / 05:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy Spirit helps Catholics to do good works by giving them the gifts they need to be effective ‘salt and light’ in the world, Pope Francis said at the general audience Wednesday.
Like Jesus said: “You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world,” the pope said May 23, explaining that the images of salt and light “make us think of our conduct, because both the lack and the excess of salt make food disgusting, as the lack and the excess of light prevent us from seeing.”
“Who can really make us salt that gives flavor and preserves from corruption, and light that enlightens the world?” he asked. “It is only the Spirit of Christ!”
Explaining that at the moment of Confirmation the bishop says, “Receive the Holy Spirit, which has been given to you,” Francis said the sacrament is “a great gift of God, the Holy Spirit within us.”
“The Spirit is in our heart, is in our soul. And the Spirit guides us in life, so that we become the right [amount of] salt and the right [amount of] light for men.”
Pope Francis spoke about Confirmation after concluding his weekly reflections on Baptism, which he said is “the first step.” After Baptism, “it is then necessary to behave as children of God, that is, to conform to Christ who works in the holy Church,” he said.
“If in Baptism it is the Holy Spirit that immerses us in Christ, in Confirmation it is Christ who fills us with his Spirit,” he said. In Confirmation, Christ consecrates Catholics “as his witnesses, partakers of the same principle of life and mission, according to the plan of the heavenly Father.”
Becoming involved in Christ’s mission in the world: “This is what the anointing of the Holy Spirit provides,” he continued.
The pope also explained that the sacrament is called “Confirmation” because it “confirms Baptism and strengthens its grace,” noting that in the Italian language, the sacrament is called “Cresima,” to recall the anointing with chrism oil, which confers the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is also appropriate to speak about Confirmation following the celebration of Pentecost, the pope said, because the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples calls to mind the infusion of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation.
“Pentecost, which we celebrated last Sunday, is for the Church what for Christ was the anointing of the Spirit received at the Jordan, or the missionary impulse to consume the life for the sanctification of men, to the glory of God.”
If in every sacrament the Spirit works, it is especially in Confirmation that “the faithful receive the Holy Spirit as a gift,” he concluded. “Christian witness consists in doing only and all that the Spirit of Christ asks of us, granting us the strength to do it.”
At the end of the general audience, Francis pointed out that Thursday, May 24, is the feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Help of Christians,” which is particularly venerated at the Shrine of Our Mother of Sheshan near Shanghai, China.
This feast day “invites us to be spiritually united to all the Catholic faithful who live in China,” he said, praying for Chinese Catholics, that through the intercession of Our Lady, they would live their faith “with generosity and serenity… fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter.”
“Dearest disciples of the Lord in China, the universal Church prays with you and for you, so that even among the difficulties you may continue to entrust yourselves to God’s will. Our Lady will never fail to help you and guard you with her motherly love.”
New York City, N.Y., May 22, 2018 / 08:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of New York said Tuesday that while some recent comments about homosexuality attributed to Pope Francis are “orthodox teaching,” the pope’s reported remarks could require clarification.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan affirmed the pope’s recent affirmation of God’s love for a gay man with whom the pontiff visited in Rome, saying: “Jesus would have said that, and so would I. That’s conservative, traditional, Catholic, orthodox teaching. The ‘Catechism’ insists on that.”
“While any sexual expression outside of a man and woman in marriage is contrary to God’s purpose, so is not treating anyone, including a gay person, with anything less than dignity and respect,” Dolan added, speaking May 22 during his weekly radio show on Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel.
“What he says is beautiful, don’t you think?” Dolan asked.
The remarks were a response to questions about Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean victim of sexual abuser Fr. Fernando Karadima, who told the Spanish newspaper El Pais on Friday that Pope Francis told him that it did not matter that he was gay.
“He told me ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like that and he loves you like that and I do not care. The Pope loves you as you are, you have to be happy with who you are,’” Cruz recalled.
Asked about the most controversial aspect of the Holy Father’s remarks, regarding whether God wills that someone experience same sex attraction, Dolan was circumspect, citing “ongoing debate” among “professional circles.”
“Is one born that way, or is it – is it nature or nurture?… I don’t think the Holy Father would feel competent to speak on that.”
Dolan noted that while he had no reason to doubt Cruz’s account, the pope’s reported remarks were “third hand: what the pope said to him, he said to the press, so one would want to get a clarification.”
He said his remarks were qualified by “a little bit of ‘wait and see’” adding “let’s find out exactly what the Holy Father said.”
Vatican City, May 22, 2018 / 02:51 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis will meet for three days next month with victims of a Chilean priest who committed sexual abuse as well as abuse of power and conscience, in an effort to respond to the country’s clerical sex abuse crisis.
The Holy See press office stated May 22 that Pope Francis will receive a second group of victims of Fr. Fernando Karadima and his followers at the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse June 1-3.
The group of nine includes five priests who were victims of abuse of power, conscience, and sexuality; two priests who have been assisting the victims; and two lay people.
Most of those coming to the Vatican participated in Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta’s investigation of abuse cover-up by the hierarchy in Chile, whick took place in February. The others worked with the investigation after the archbishop’s time in Chile.
“With this new meeting, scheduled a month ago, Pope Francis wants to demonstrate his closeness to abused priests, to accompany them in their pain and to listen to their valuable views to improve the current preventive measures and the fight against abuses in the Church,” the Holy See press office said.
The meeting will conclude the pope’s first round of meetings with the victims of abuses which occurred at Karadima’s Sacred Heart parish in Santiago.
“These priests and lay people represent all the victims of abuses by clerics in Chile, but it is not ruled out that similar initiatives may be repeated in the future.”
The visit will include various meetings “which will take place in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality.” Pope Francis will say Mass for the group June 2, after which there will be a group meeting, followed by individual conversations.
“The Holy Father continues to ask the faithful of Chile – and especially the faithful of the parishes where these priests carry out their pastoral ministry – to accompany them with prayer and solidarity during these days.”
Francis had met with three more of Karadima’s victims, Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton, and Andres Murillo, at the Vatican April 27-30. Cruz, who has same-sex attraction, told a Spanish newspaper May 20 that the pope had told him to accept himself and his attraction, because God made him that way.
Karadima was convicted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2011 of abusing minors, and sentenced to a life of prayer and penance. He has not been sentenced by civil courts because of Chile’s statue of limitations.
A sacerdotal association which Karadima had led, the Priestly Union of the Sacred Heart, was suppressed within a year of his conviction.
Attention to Karadima’s abuse has heightened since the 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid to the Diocese of Osorno. Barros had been accused of covering up Karadima’s abuses.
Pope Francis initially defended Barros, saying he had received no evidence of the bishop’s guilt, and called accusations against him “calumny” during a trip to Chile in January. He later relented, and sent Scicluna to investigate the situation in Chile.
After receiving Scicluna’s report, Francis apologized, said that he had been seriously mistaken, and asked to meet the country’s bishops and more outspoken survivors in person.
He met with Chile’s bishops May 15-17. As a result, each of them tendered letters of resignation, which Pope Francis has yet to accept or reject. The pope also gave the bishops a lettter chastising them for systemic cover-up of clerical abuse and calling them to institute deep changes.
On May 19, Bishop Alejandro Goić Karmelić of Rancagua suspended several priests after allegations of sexual misconduct were raised against them. He also apologized for not following up when the accusations were first brought to his attention.
Denver, Colo., May 21, 2018 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- I am not a priest or deacon, or even a counselor or pastoral care worker. But in more than a decade of full-time work in the Church, I’ve often sat with people who are confronting some difficult cros… […]
Vatican City, May 21, 2018 / 09:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis celebrated the first feast of Mary, Mother of the Church Monday saying that without the emphasis placed on motherhood, the Church would be isolated, composed of no more than “old bachelors.”
“Without this dimension, it sadly becomes a church of old bachelors, who live in this isolation, incapable of love, incapable of fecundity. Without the woman, the Church does not advance – because she is a woman. And this attitude of woman comes from Mary, because Jesus willed it so.”
In his homily during Mass May 21, Pope Francis said “the Church is feminine, because it is ‘church’ and ‘bride,’” both of which are grammatically feminine in the Italian language.
The Church is also a mother, “she gives life,” he said, adding that only a feminine Church would be able to have a truly “fruitful attitude” in accordance with the will of God, who chose “to be born of a woman in order to teach us the path of woman.”
“The important thing is that the Church be a woman, that [it] has this attitude of a bride and of a mother,” he said, adding that “when we forget this, it is a masculine Church.”
Pope Francis spoke during his Mass said in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, marking the first liturgical celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, which he established in March.
According to the March 3 decree implementing the feast, it was established in order to help encourage growth in “the maternal sense of the Church” and in “genuine Marian piety.” It is celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost.
It was also established, the decree said, to help the Church “remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed.”
The title “Mother of the Church,” was given to the Blessed Mother by Bl. Paul VI.
In his homily, Pope Francis noted that in the Gospels, Mary is not referred to as “the lady” or “the widow of Joseph,” but is rather called “the mother of Jesus.”
Mary’s motherhood is emphasized throughout the Gospels, from the Annunciation to the foot of the cross, he said, explaining that the fathers of the Church realized this attention to motherhood is not just applied to Mary, but can be applied to the entire Church.
The Church itself is feminine, he said, noting that the fathers of the Church say, “even your soul is the bride of Christ and mother.”
“It is with this attitude that comes from Mary, who is Mother of the Church, with this attitude we can understand this feminine dimension of the Church,” the pope said, adding that if this aspect is lost, “the Church loses its identity and becomes a charitable organization or a football team, but not the Church.”
Francis said the primary distinctive quality of a woman is tenderness, which can be seen in Mary’s act of wrapping her newborn son “in swaddling clothing” and laying him in the manger in Bethlehem.
In this action, Mary cared for Christ with meekness and humility, the strongest virtues mothers possess, he said, explaining that “a Church that is a mother goes along the path of tenderness.”
“It knows the language of such wisdom of caresses, of silence, of the gaze that knows compassion,” he said, explaining that this attitude is also representative of those people who live as part of the Church, knowing that they are “[like] a mother [and] must go along the same path: a person [who is] gentle, tender, smiling, full of love.”